For the third year in a row, Thompson Rivers University (TRU) is ranked as the coolest school by Sierra club sustainability ranking were in 2019, TRU won first place. Sierra sustainability club started to rank institutions based on their environmental record in 2006.
TRU has earned a platinum rating in 2018 from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education’s global Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System, which is also known as (STARS) program.
This year only three Canadian institutions were listed; TRU, Université de Sherbrooke in Sherbrooke, Que,and Université Laval in Quebec City. TRU this year took the bronze medal; the University of California came in second taking the silver medal, and Arizona State University placed first taking the gold medal.
Rankings are based on sustainability courses, campus green initiatives, student engagement with environmental activism, and academic criteria.
TRU president Brett Fairbairn said, “This summer, we have experienced first-hand the effects of climate change and we deeply understand the need to take action, TRU is committed to being a part of the solution and to leading the way where we can.”
Additionally, James Gordon the Environmental Programs Coordinator, Zero Waste with TRU’s sustainability office mentions “These recognitions indicate to us that we are going in the right direction.” To add to this note, James mentions that one strategy that made TRU stand out is the “electrification project, which needs five to ten years to be completed. The idea is that it will heat campus buildings almost entirely by electricity, thereby eliminating all burning of fossil fuels.”
The initiative is in the design and planning stage, with the construction of phase one expected to start in 2022.
Also, TRU honours the staff, faculty, and students for letting TRU be a global leader in environmental sustainability for post-secondary institutions.
“I’m so glad we opened our ranking to Canadian Schools because TRU has a lot to model for schools everywhere we have. Been impressed with this gold and bronze medal powerhouse’s commitment to teaching and embodying excellent environmental stewardship in all areas,” Katie O’Reilly, Sierra Club Magazine’s adventure and lifestyle editor said.
Moreover, TRU’s latest initiatives include “launching a single-use item elimination task force, and all undergraduates’ students must take a course that meets the Citizenship Institutional Learning Outcome to promote socially responsible and sustainable behaviour.”
TRU is launching its Campus Tree program by Sept. 22 by planting 10 maple trees to mark National Tree Day. TRU is planning to achieve the Canadian government’s goal of 2 billion trees by 2030. These are some of the latest plans that TRU has led down to create a better environment and to improve the climate change impact.
The sustainability office is in need of volunteer students, and sustainable ambassadors that will help plant, raise the awareness of sustainability between other students, and care for the trees while learning from the horticulture department, also a certificate of completion will be given at the end of the trial.