The campus is always greener on the other side
How Mount Royal University is continuing to build a sustainable, environmentally friendly campus
By Gregory Balanko-Dickson, Contributor
There’s a lot of planning that goes on behind the scenes at Mount Royal University to make the campus eco-friendly. Students might not realize the effort, and the intention, that goes into sustainability at MRU.
Currently in Alberta, there are a lot of tax rebates that can be used to make a “greener” campus.
“You could just replace a burnt light bulb with a new light, but we’re looking for a more strategic approach,” said Owen Zarazun, director of building operations.
MRU’s Facilities Management team is looking to leverage opportunities like this to the benefit of the students, and the environment. Through these efforts, “we’re going to save energy, we’re going to save capital, and we’re going to save the environment,” said Zarazun.
However, going green doesn’t have to be that complicated. Students can get involved in simple ways by changing some habits. It can be as easy as turning off a light when leaving the room, recycling your waste, or shutting down your computer when you’re done using it.
Another way to decrease the carbon footprint of Mount Royal is to teach others to adopt similar habits. Educating others and increasing awareness about the impact of small actions taken on a daily basis is a definite way to lead the way towards an eco-friendly campus.
Zarazun says “it’s that awareness and that education” that will help MRU to be clean and green.
There are some new projects on the horizon at Mount Royal to continue the trend of growing sustainability. The Department of Facilities Management team plans to install a Combined Heat & Power (CHP) plant. This will take the heat from the combustion of the plant that is used to create power and re-direct that heat to keep the buildings warm.
The only thing that stands in the way of a greener campus is “money” according to Diana Fletcher, instructor and chair of the Sustainability Committee at Mount Royal. The environment is “always at the bottom of the list.”
There’s three main components to sustainability of our environment: social, economic and environmental.
However, “most people care about money, the economic part, and after that the people, or the social part, and then last but not least is the environment,” said Fletcher.
Fletcher and the Sustainability Committee are hoping to change this by spreading the word about the importance of the environment to students.
Some actions that have been taken by Fletcher and her team are the microgreens workshop, which took place at the Sustainability Fair on campus, on Sept. 26 and 27. There is also a native plant garden and a greenhouse which was built on the third floor of the Lincoln Park building.
The Sustainability Committee made this possible with the help of the “TD Friends of the Environment Fund,” which has donated about forty thousand dollars to the committee for projects like these.
If you’re looking to get involved with the sustainability committee, contact Diana Fletcher at email@example.com to help keep the conversation going.