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Date: September 20, 2000

'Green' Campus Advocates To Meet

Blue boxes and energy efficient buildings are a good start, but there's increasing pressure on universities to imbed environmental responsibility in the core of their academic, financial and operational plans. This week, 80 students will gather at UVic and Royal Roads University for the "Sustainable Campuses Conference" to meet and compare progress on the 'greening' of university campuses across Canada. Students will meet at RRU's Hatley Castle on Sept. 21 and 22 and at UVic's Centre for Innovative Teaching on Sept. 23 and 24.
Co-sponsored by UVic's Sustainability Project and the Sierra Youth Coalition, the conference offers participants skill development workshops and the opportunity to compare initiatives to improve sustainability practices on campus. The UVic Sustainability Project recently completed a sustainability audit of the university. Analysis included the campus use of energy and water and its generation of solid waste. The audit praised UVic for reducing its energy consumption, composting its yard waste and introducing widespread recycling. But the audit noted that the university still sent 878 tonnes of waste to the landfill in 1999-2000. UVic plans to hire its first full-time sustainability officer later this year.

Conference participants will outline similar initiatives at other Canadian universities and discuss topics such as the social and ethical impacts of building design and the process involved in mapping out an ecological footprint for a building. The focus of the conference will be on the development of students' capacities to train each other.

B.C.'s environment, lands and parks minister Joan Sawicki is the keynote speaker at 6:15 p.m. on Sept. 21 followed at 7 p.m. by author and researcher John Ryan who will speak on resource consumption and conservation on campuses. UVic president Dr. Dave Turpin will host the Sept. 22 keynote session that features Ann Dale, of Royal Roads University and the Association of Canadian Community Colleges. She will speak at 7 p.m. on building a national student movement for campus sustainability.

Funding for the conference was provided by the Community Animation Program, a Health Canada and Environment Canada initiative; Natural Resources Canada; UVic's Division of External Relations, and the office of the Vice-President, Operations, Royal Roads University; and the Canadian Federation of Students, B.C. Chapter.

Media advisory: Members of the media are invited to attend the conference sessions. For the full conference agenda check the conference website at www.sierrayouthcoalition.org/syc_conference/conf2000.htm
Media contacts:
Lindsay Cole (UVic Sustainability Project) at 721-0372.

UVic media releases and other resources for journalists are available on the World Wide Web at http://communications.uvic.ca/media

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