Five for five: RRC again recognized as one of Canada’s Greenest Employers

Greenest Employer 2015 logoFor the fifth year in a row, Red River College has been named one of Canada’s Greenest Employers. This annual award acknowledges RRC’s environmentally-friendly policies, and programs that effectively engage staff in their sustainability efforts.

“Red River College continues to be a champion of sustainability in Manitoba, and I congratulate Sara MacArthur, Kristine Koster and Sue Hayduk from our Sustainability team for their efforts in continuing to cultivate a culture of sustainability,” said David Rew, Interim President and CEO, Red River College.

“As the only post-secondary institution in Manitoba to receive this honour each year for the past five years, this is something every member of our College community takes pride in.”

RRC works hard to be designated one of Canada’s Greenest Employers and is proud of the many sustainable initiatives launched by the College, including:

Rapid Charger for Electric Vehicles

RRC is giving Manitoba’s electric vehicle (EV) owners a boost, thanks to a recently-installed Level 3 (30kW DC) quick charging station, the first of its kind in the province and one of only two dozen across Canada. The rapid charging station is another key element in the College’s Mobility from Green Energy Initiative, and a logical next step in our vehicle technology research program. Drivers of Level 3-compliant EVs — including Nissan Leafs, Mitsubishi i-MiEVs, and Teslas — can charge up at the College’s Notre Dame Campus, while contributing to research on the charger’s performance in Manitoba’s climate.

Sustainable Transportation

RRC promotes sustainable transportation alternatives to reduce the number of single occupancy vehicles coming to campus. Employees are entitled to a 60% discount on monthly transit passes (EcoPass). This incentive, combined with the high costs to park downtown, has resulted in significant increases in transit use by College staff. The 2014 EcoPass Ridership Report showed that EcoPass usage has increased at three of our four downtown campuses.

Fair Trade Campus

RRC’s Manager of Sustainability continues her role on the Steering Committee for Winnipeg to become a Fair Trade Town. In addition to assisting with the city-wide campaign, RRC is continuing its efforts to become a Fair Trade Campus. Vending machines now hold Fair Trade-certified coffee and the College is selling Fair Trade-certified teas and chocolate. This change to our vending arrangement will help us achieve our Fair Trade Campus designation.

Waste Reduction

In 2014, RRC reduced waste going to the landfill by 4%. One initiative is a semi-annual e-waste drive to collect electronic waste from the College and from the homes of students and staff. Coinciding with Waste Reduction Week in October 2014, the College collected and sent 3,615 lbs. of e-waste to a licensed facility for disassembly and recycling.

Paperless Student Evaluations

Beginning in March 2015, an online process replaced the paper form survey for students. This win-win-win initiative means that students will have more opportunity to complete surveys, instructors will receive more detailed feedback on courses and their instruction, and the process will be sustainable.

“Sustainability is a naturally occurring sensation at Red River College,” said Kristine Koster, RRC’s Interim Manager of Sustainability. “Departments are taking initiative and finding ways to reduce and reuse. Whether it’s through community connections or digitizing workflows, sustainability at RRC continues down a successful path due to the ongoing support of staff and students.”

News of this year’s Greenest Employer designation coincides with Earth Week and State of Sustainability events at RRC.