UR marked the first annual Sustainability Day last Wednesday by participating in a live webcast presentation shown at over 100 universities and organizations across the country.

“Sustainability Day was a good way to find out what other campuses are doing in terms of making their facilities more sustainable,” Grassroots member and sophomore Gerald Abt said. “To have so many different people be able to see the same discussion from all over the country was truly remarkable.”

The presentation, entitled “A (Recycled, Of Course) Six-Pack of Sustainability Lessons from the Past Year in Higher Education,” was given by a panel of experts from the Society for College and University Planning.

“Our main goal as students is to encourage explicit, organized attention to our holistic sustainability as a university,” President of Grassroots and senior Nils Klinkenberg said.

The webcast was led by six experts in the field of sustainability.

The webcast encouraged institutions to make economically sound decisions to fulfill the present generation’s demands, while keeping in mind the social and environmental effects that they will have on future generations.

“All higher education has an obligation to educate its students about the socioeconomic impact they will have on their respective communities once they leave our campuses,” Senior Operations Officer Ovide Corriveau said.

The event was part of a nationwide movement amongst colleges and universities to educate future professionals in various fields around the principles of environmental protection and social awareness.

“Changes are already happening in the form of the Cogeneration Project, the new Biomedical Engineering Optics Building and the changes being introduced in Dining Services,” Corriveau said.

The presentation was followed by a discussion moderated by Grassroots members.

“The wide range of areas represented is indicative of the broad applicability of sustainability considerations to a university setting,” Klinkenberg said.

Fernandez can be reached at


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