Victoria University in the University of Toronto is pleased to announce that it has signed on as a member of the Blue Communities Project. This latest sustainability initiative at Victoria University focuses on water sustainability and promotes conceptualizing water as a human right. One clear outcome of becoming a member is that the University will no longer sell nor provide single-use water bottles on campus.
“Working towards achieving a climate-positive campus is aligned with how we serve our students and the world they will inherit. Their voices have been critical to our process. The commitments as a Blue Community member go far beyond bottled water. I believe that this is another positive step to implementing our five-year Strategic Framework objectives, which commits us to intensify justice and sustainability initiatives across the entire University and beyond,” says Dr. Rhonda N. McEwen, president and vice-chancellor of Victoria University in the University of Toronto.
The commitments as a Blue Communities Project member will have oversight from Victoria University’s Sustainability Committee, which is comprised of staff and students from across the organization and will be managed by the Department of Infrastructure and Sustainability.
Additional sustainable water practices at Victoria University include increasing water bottle-filling stations and water fountains throughout campus; the installation of sub-meters for the campus-wide irrigation systems, in order to create a baseline and allow remote readings to be taken regularly; and programmed sprinkler systems for grounds irrigation to mitigate water waste. The cistern system in the Goldring Student Centre allows for irrigation through rainwater collection. Other sustainability efforts include exploring renewable energy sources, such as geothermal and solar energy to reduce our campus carbon footprint. More information about Victoria’s sustainability practices can be found here.
“We are immensely proud to welcome Victoria University in the University of Toronto to the Blue Communities Project. In making this commitment, the University joins over a hundred organizations worldwide who have shown leadership and vision for the future success of its students and our world,” said Maude Barlow, a globally renowned water activist, co-founder of the Blue Planet Project and the founder of the Council of Canadians.
"Victoria College students support equal access to and preservation of water resources, and we will continue calling for further meaningful action on sustainability from all members of the Victoria University community,” says Shane Joy, president of the Victoria University Students’ Administrative Council (VUSAC).
A celebration of the Blue Communities Project certificate with Rhonda N. McEwen, president of Victoria University; Maude Barlow, water activist and co-founder of the Blue Planet Project; Dianne Saxe, Toronto city councillor; Shane Joy, president of VUSAC; Cameron Avery Miranda-Radbord, VUSAC vice-president external; students from VUSAC and members of the Sustainability Committee was held on Thursday, Oct. 12 in the Goldring Student Centre.
About Victoria University in The University of Toronto
Victoria University, federated with The University of Toronto, was founded in 1836 and is one of the oldest universities in Canada. As a recognized leader in undergraduate education in the arts and sciences and in graduate education in theology, Victoria University creates an environment where students discover how to match their distinctive talents to some of the world’s most pressing issues. It is home to two outstanding colleges. Victoria College—with its small class sizes, its distinctive first-year programs and its exceptional students—is recognized as one of the most rewarding places in Canada to pursue an undergraduate education. Emmanuel College prepares students from many faiths and backgrounds for leadership roles in religious contexts. The iconic campus is located on the east side of Queen’s Park, south of Bloor Street, in Toronto.
Sally Szuster, Director, Communications
Victoria University in the University of Toronto