Red River College’s Portage Campus has a vacancy for some feathered friends.
For its efforts in restoring an old chimney to create a hospitable habitat for birds, RRC has been presented with the Swift Champion award from the Manitoba Chimney Swift Initiative (MCSI). Over the summer of 2017, two swifts were spotted using the chimney a number of times, indicating the restoration was a success.
“We’re honoured to accept the Swift Champion award and to continue our role in protecting the chimney swifts,” says Guy Moffat, Portage Campus Manager. “It’s been amazing to see the work our facilities team has put in to restoring the chimney, and to be able to witness the swifts flying in and out of their summer home. Part of RRC’s Strategic Plan includes fostering sustainable growth – not just for the College, but for the entire province. This is just one way we contribute.”
The chimney swift is a small brown bird, often described as a “cigar with wings,” that enjoys roosting and breeding in brick chimneys. The species’ population has declined significantly in Canada since the 1970s and is now listed on both the provincial and federal Species at Risk registries.
When a volunteer from MCSI noticed upgrades being made to the Portage Campus chimney in 2016, they let the College know it had been identified as a designated chimney swift habitat.
That awareness resulted in changes to the original repair plans, which would have closed off the chimney with a metal cap. Now the top of the brick chimney remains intact, with an opening that allows swifts to enter and roost. The College’s efforts also ensure toxic gases won’t collect in the nesting area. Read More →
One potato, two potato, three potato, four — that and a few hundred pounds more were dug up from Red River College’s community garden today and donated to Winnipeg Harvest in support of the corporate Grow-A-Row challenge.
Staff and students at the College have spent all summer tending to the spuds (and carrots and onions), which will now go to feed families in need.
“Once again, Red River College is proud to support Winnipeg Harvest, and this year we are pleased to donate nearly 3,000 pounds of vegetables from our garden to Winnipeg families,” says RRC President Paul Vogt.
“I want to thank the staff and students who volunteer their time to tend to the garden, and our grounds and Sustainability teams who champion this community initiative within the College. I’d also like to congratulate the Winnipeg Airports Authority and the corporate partners [including Pegasus Publications] who have taken part in this important project to ensure that no one in our community goes hungry.”
Dating back several years, RRC’s involvement with Grow-A-Row is currently championed by Gord McLeod, pavement and grounds supervisor, and Sara MacArthur, director of Sustainability. The College’s garden — a 30’ x 60’ plot of land — has become a community initiative encouraging involvement from both staff and students, who tend and harvest it on a volunteer basis.
The food grown in the garden supports not only the greater community, but also the College’s food bank, organized by the RRC Students’ Association.
The Grow-A-Row initiative, meanwhile, first blossomed back in 1986, when Winnipeg residents Ron and Eunice O’Donovan produced more potatoes in their backyard garden than they could consume. Their donations were so well received by Winnipeg Harvest that the couple encouraged friends and neighbours to also donate surplus produce.
Since then, Grow-A-Row has yielded more than 3.7 million of pounds of fresh fruit and vegetables.
Cypher Environmental and Red River College are marking the launch of a new product line developed by Cypher in collaboration with RRC students.
Cypher’s new Dust Stop Municipal Blend product is designed as a non-corrosive and environmentally friendly alternative to road salts such as magnesium chloride and calcium chloride, offering superior road dust control results.
“Cypher’s new product is a perfect example of how Red River College partners with industry to foster innovation right here in Manitoba,” says RRC President Paul Vogt. “It’s a real success story, as students and faculty worked on this project, our facilities were used, and both the Cypher president and company staff are College graduates.”
The product was launched today at an event attended by provincial Minister of Sustainable Development Cathy Cox, along with a delegation of political representatives from the Belarusian province of Mogilev, who’ve shown interest in the product.
Earlier in the day, RRC took the delegation on a tour of the campus facilities used to develop the Dust Stop Municipal Blend.
“We have been working hard on getting this new product up and running, and we’re very excited to be able to officially launch,” says Todd Burns, president of Cypher Environmental. “This product will create new jobs and revenue for the province of Manitoba and we have a growing international market to cater to.”
Cypher Environmental is a Winnipeg-based company that engineers environmentally friendly, high-quality dust control, soil stabilization, and water remediation solutions and now exports to over 30 countries.
Work on the new product was supported by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), and the National Research Council's Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP).
From urban beekeeping, to landfill diversion efforts, to active transportation options for staff and students, Red River College shows no sign of ending its Greenest Employer winning streak.
For the seventh year in a row, RRC’s environmentally friendly policies and efforts to engage staff and students in sustainability efforts have resulted in a Canada’s Greenest Employer designation from Mediacorp Canada.
Today, almost 90 per cent of staff and faculty believe that sustainability needs to be a priority in all College operations, and it continues to be a key strategic priority, as well as a fundamental part of RRC’s five-year Strategic Plan.
“Red River College continues to be a champion of sustainability in Manitoba, and I congratulate all members of our College community for their efforts in continuing to cultivate a culture of sustainability at RRC,” says RRC president Paul Vogt. “From our applied research on green construction and vehicle technologies, to our recycling programs, to our state-of-the-art building projects, that culture touches everything we do.”
Feeding into that culture are the many initiatives that support RRC’s commitment to a green environment, including recycling and composting programs, efforts to promote public transit and other active transportation options, and e-waste drives that divert more than 10,000 pounds of electronic waste from landfills each year. Read More →
Red River College’s downtown dormitory is home to more than just students this summer. The rooftop patio at Paterson GlobalFoods Institute is also the new seasonal home of our very own buzz-worthy urban beehives.
A fixture at PGI since early July, the three hives each house between 40,000 and 50,000 European honeybees, a docile but still industrious breed expected to produce up to 75 kilograms of honey by this fall.
Until that time, they’re being tended to by Beeproject Apiaries’ Chris Kirouac (shown above) and Lindsay Nikkel, a husband-and-wife team of former nurses who describe their sticky venture as a DIY hobby gone wild, and with whom RRC’s Sustainability department struck a honey of a partnership earlier this year.
The resulting initiative is a perfect match with the College’s mandate on sustainable practices, offering environmental benefits (via the pollination of nearby greenspaces) and the opportunity to add another locally sourced food product to RRC’s menu — one that arrives at the table in very nearly its natural state.
“Honey is one of those amazing foods that’s better the less refined it is,” says Kirouac, noting the harvested honey is bottled in a CFIA-inspected facility, but not pasteurized or refined in any way. “The quality and safety of honey — right when you crack the hive and stick your finger in there — means it’s good to go, just the way it is.”
Once extracted, the honey will be used by students in PGI’s culinary labs (including in the kitchen of restaurant Jane’s), and by Food Services departments at all three Winnipeg campuses. It’ll also be available for purchase at College events throughout the year, including a new farmer’s market planned for the Notre Dame Campus this fall. Read More →
Classes may be winding down for the summer, but Red River College sits poised to enter a new era of post-secondary excellence, armed with an updated set of initiatives to guide its strategic direction and future growth for the next five years.
Following months of consultations with internal and external stakeholders — including a series of Open Café meetings (shown above) with staff and faculty from all campuses — the College has adopted newly-revised mission, vision and values statements, casting an aspirational eye towards sustainability, service to community, and global recognition.
Redrafted in tandem with RRC’s new Academic and Research Plan and pending five-year Strategic Plan (due this August), the new statements provide a roadmap for the College to follow, and a set of guidelines for all staff as they put policies into practice — both inside and outside the classroom.
“We don’t expect people to memorize them word for word, but hopefully to get to know them and understand what we are as an institution, and where we’re trying to go, so they can be part of the change,” says Cindee Laverge, vice-president, Student Services and Planning at RRC.
“It’s a way for people to help us achieve our strategic direction: through the mission and vision, to understand on a day-to-day basis what’s important to us, and through our values to understand how we work and play.” Read More →
For the sixth year in a row, Red River College has been named one of Canada’s Greenest Employers, a designation that recognizes RRC’s environmentally friendly policies and programs that engage staff in their sustainability efforts.
The listing comes courtesy of Mediacorp Canada's ongoing Top 100 Employers project, and coincides with Earth Day activities and events throughout the globe.
“Red River College continues to be a champion of sustainability,” says RRC President Paul Vogt. “We're honoured to continue to receive this honour each year for the past six years. This is something every member of our College community can take pride in.”
“There’s a real culture of sustainability at Red River College,” adds Sara MacArthur, RRC's Manager of Sustainability. “Our staff do more than just ‘know’ about sustainability — they also embrace the values of sustainability in their day-to-day actions.”
Over the years, RRC has taken a lead role in a number of sustainability-related initiatives, including: Read More →
A research partnership with Manitoba Hydro focusing on sustainable building infrastructure and transportation has earned Red River College the top honour from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC).
Presented today at a ceremony at the Governor General’s residence in Ottawa, NSERC’s Synergy Award for Innovation recognizes outstanding research and development partnerships between colleges and industry partners in the fields of natural sciences and engineering. Only one Canadian college receives the award each year.
“This award is the highest level of validation a college can receive for the impact and lasting benefits of its research partnerships efforts,” says RRC President Paul Vogt. “Our partnerships with industry stakeholders like Manitoba Hydro are critical to our mandate for supporting innovation in Manitoba, and providing our graduates with the skills that industry requires.”
Dating back more than a decade, the partnership between RRC and Hydro includes collaboration on such high-profile projects as the award-winning Manitoba Hydro Place and the development of a zero-emissions electric battery transit bus.
“The legacy of the relationship between Manitoba Hydro and RRC will live on in our downtown office tower and zero-emission buses operating within many North American cities for decades to come,” says Lloyd Kuczek, Manitoba Hydro’s vice-president of Customer Care and Energy Conservation.
“These projects provide daily reminders of what we can accomplish through collaborative research and of the importance of leveraging the capabilities of research partners like RRC.”
Read More →
Red River College has been recognized for excellence in building management with a 2015 Earth Award from the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) of Canada.
The award went to RRC’s Heavy Equipment Transportation Centre (HETC), and was presented in conjunction with BOMA's national conference in Quebec on Sept. 17.
“We have an excellent Facility Management team and this award further demonstrates our hard work and dedication to sustainability,” says Tom Skraba, director of Facility Management at RRC. “I wish to congratulate the team for their tireless efforts.”
BOMA's Earth Awards recognize excellence in resource preservation and environmentally sound commercial building management. During the selection process, BOMA evaluates a building’s ability to reduce overall environmental risk, provide good indoor air quality, practice green cleaning, recycling, and energy conservation.
HETC is one of the largest industrial training facilities in Manitoba, and one of the province’s most environmentally friendly buildings. Read More →
Red River College has been awarded $1.75 million over five years from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), to establish the Centre for Building Envelope Performance (CBEP) at the Notre Dame Campus.
Lawrence Toet, MP for Elmwood-Transcona (shown above, at centre), was on campus yesterday to announce the new funding, which comes in the form of a Technology Access Centres Grant under NSERC's under College and Community Innovation (CCI) program.
Work on the CBEP will see RRC partnering with the local construction industry to conduct applied research, provide specialized education and training, and support innovation in building envelope design and construction.
"Colleges play a key role in supporting innovation and business, and RRC has been a leader in applied research for more than 10 years," says Interim RRC President David Rew (above, second from right).
"This grant will help enhance our ability to serve Manitoba's construction sector with advanced graduates and professional training, as well as foster innovation in a critical component of building design and construction."
The CBEP is expected to significantly increase access to the College’s facilities, equipment and expertise for Manitoba’s building industry, especially small- and medium-sized enterprises whose products and services directly impact a building’s envelope. Read More →