On Tuesday, U of S president Peter Stoicheff and members of the U of S Students’ Union (USSU) kicked off Sustainability Week by signing an historic memorandum of understanding to work together on initiatives across campus.
“A lot of good work has been done at the university, but with the help of the USSU—and it couldn’t have happened in my case without it—attention has been brought to a lot of good work that still needs to be done,” said Stoicheff.
The new agreement commits the USSU and the President’s Office to encourage energy and water conservation and waste prevention initiatives, and to actively promote sustainability efforts on campus.
“This agreement, one of the first of its kind in Canada, was born out of the desire of the student body to engage in leadership both on a student and administrative level towards a sustainable future for our campus community,” said Renata Huyghebaert, the USSU vice-president of student affairs. “We recognize that in today’s ever-changing world, our resources are more precious than ever.”
The commitment is the latest in a list of initiatives at the U of S that began with the creation of the Office of Sustainability in 2004 as well as the establishment of the School of Environment and Sustainability (SENS) for graduate research in 2007.
“We have developed a number of initiatives at the University of Saskatchewan, but there is always more that we can do and we want to continue to support opportunities for students to work on sustainability issues and projects,” said Stoicheff. “This is one of our priorities on campus and we are determined to make a difference.”
To support these efforts on campus, Stoicheff announced the formation of a President’s Sustainability Council, headed by SENS Executive Director Toddi Steelman. In addition to providing guidance, the council will lead funding efforts geared to support student initiatives, will create a President’s Leadership Award in Sustainability and will recommend initiatives to better promote efforts on campus by students, staff and faculty alike.
“It was really through a genuine discussion and now a partnership with student leaders, and the USSU in particular, that we are at this stage and I really want to thank them for ensuring that we are at this stage,” said Stoicheff.