THE University of Northern British Columbia is one of 50 winners in the Greenest Employers category in the Canada’s Top Employers 2013 awards announced April 22.
Regional chair Phil Burton says that despite being a satellite location, the UNBC campus located on Keith Ave in Terrace deserves credit for the recent award.
“It reaffirms our brand and our presence as a desired institution to be affiliated with,” Burton said of the award. “It attracts students not just from within the region but also outside, too.”
UNBC took the award for its participation in local efforts to promote sustainability.
“We have lobbied the city and BC Transit to have more public transit,” Burton said. “And made sure we have a protected, secure space to ride bikes.”
Burton went on to say that he sees the university as forging a way for the rest of Terrace.
“We would be happy to share our expertise and experience with others anticipating similar transformations for their workplace. For example at the Sportsplex where we had the trade show last weekend I didn’t see many recycling bins. UNBC would be happy to speak to people at city hall about our success and challenges.”
The Terrace campus is currently looking into starting a local food program. A recent landscaping project will see berry bushes and fruit trees and raised garden beds.
At the same time, being a satellite campus means lots of commuting to Prince George, which increases the carbon footprint of the campus.
To attempt to address this issue the UNBC staff has been lobbying VIA rail to provide daily passenger service for which they received a letter of support from Skeena – Bulkley Valley NDP MP Nathan Cullen.
This green sensibility has also affected the curriculum in the Terrace classrooms.
“In most of our classes there are a number of things that permeate the philosophy of the education in general, one being a respect for First Nations and First Nations values and another being sustainability and environmental responsibility,” Burton said.
Canada’s Greenest Employers competition was started seven years ago, and this is the second year in a row UNBC has been nominated for the distinction. According to their press release, the contest “recognizes the employers that lead the nation in incorporating environmental awareness into their organizational cultures.”