The University of New Brunswick’s Fredericton campus is the first in the province to earn a silver rating in a worldwide ranking of sustainable practices among institutions of higher learning.

The evaluation by the Philadelphia-based Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education found UNB’s energy score was among the best by participating Canadian universities.

The association also rated highly UNB’s reduction in potable water use and lauded several of the university’s innovative sustainability initiatives.

These include food planters that provide free herbs and vegetables to students, staff and faculty as well as the Greening Our Grounds initiative with its development of interactive tree trails and a First Nation medicine wheel garden.

It is the first time that UNB submitted data to the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS) program run by the association. STARS assesses the sustainability of an institution’s practices within academics, engagement, operations, and planning and administration.

There are currently nearly 900 institutions worldwide that have reported within STARS, 71 of which are Canadian institutions.

“To earn a silver ranking on our first evaluation in this global program is very exciting. It underscores not only our leadership on sustainability initiatives in the province but on a much broader horizon as well,” says Barbara Nicholson, associate vice-president of capital planning and property development at UNB.

The certification drive was led by UNB Sustainability, a program focused on creating a culture of sustainability on UNB’s Fredericton campus.

It will use the information gathered through STARS to identify opportunities to do even better and will be used as a baseline to help create a sustainability plan for UNB, says Jill Pelkey, acting sustainability co-ordinator for the university.

UNB was able to take part in the ranking program with the help of students in the faculty of forestry and environmental management. Students in an environment and natural resource class gained real-world experience by collecting data for the evaluation – data was compiled and analyzed by a student in UNB’s masters of environmental management program.

“We will have a chance to submit to STARS again in three years and by then our Saint John campus will be participating as well. it is exciting to think about the improvements we will make by then with all the sustainability initiatives we are undertaking,” says Ms. Pelkey.

Media contact: David Stonehouse

Photo credit: Rob Blanchard/Photo UNB

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