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President's Sustainability Council

Mandate

The Sustainability Council is an advisory body to the President with responsibility for providing input and recommendations on how to advance York University’s sustainability initiatives, projects, and practices and to provide oversight of the required actions from approved recommendations. It is also a mechanism through which to support and enable York students, faculty and staff to participate meaningfully in the planning and implementation of York University’s sustainability policies, initiatives, projects and practices. It serves to foster the integration of knowledge and issues about sustainability into research, education and application.

Objectives
Develop a framework for understanding the different dimensions of sustainability as relevant to the university's campuses;
Conduct assessments of sustainability to establish common understandings and benchmarks progress on advancing sustainability;
Provide a forum in which members may discuss sustainability challenges and opportunities to foster pan-university approaches to sustainability initiatives;
Identify and review current university sustainability practices and initiatives, and ascertain opportunities for synergies and engagement;
Through a planning/prioritization process, identify and examine specific high priority issues and develop recommendations for the President to consider implementing;
Develop communication tools that promote and enhance awareness of sustainability activities and initiatives, including the work of the Council, throughout the entire York community; and
Produce an annual report on sustainability at York relative to the Councils' Activities.

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Leadership Awards

The York University President's Sustainability Leadership Awards recognize students, faculty and staff who are contributing to making York a leading university in sustainability. The purpose of the awards are to raise awareness on the important work that sustainability champions are doing at York, to provide much deserved recognition of their work, and to encourage others to get involved in sustainability initiatives on our campuses. Up to five (5) awards will be given out each year.

Eligibility : Anyone from the York University community can nominate any other individual or group for consideration. For the purposes of the award, the York U community is defined as students, faculty, and staff members. The geographic focus of the nominees sustainability work should be on one of York's campuses or in the surrounding community.

Nomination Process: The nomination period for 2019-2020 has been extended until June 1, 2020.

Please complete and submit the online Sustainability Leadership Award Form.

Review Period: Please note the selection process and event has been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  More information will be provided in the future.

Review Committee: Applications will be reviewed by a committee of 5, including 2 students, 1 faculty member and 2 staff members.

Evaluation Criteria: Nominees will be considered for the Sustainability Leadership Awards based on their demonstrated leadership in sustainability, specifically through the following criteria:

  • The overall impact of the nominee's contributions to sustainability, including the depth (how significant the contribution is) and breadth (how widespread, collaborative and/or replicable the contribution is).
  • Degree of innovation and originality and/or degree of enhancement (to existing initiatives)
  • How the individual or group went "over and above the call of duty" (additional time and resources committed that were not part of their job description or academic program).

Announcement of Awards: Award winners will be announced by or before June 2020.

Questions: If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Nicole Arsenault, Program Director, Sustainability narsenau@yorku.ca or 416-736-5866.

Reports

2019 - 2020 Annual Report

President's Sustainability Council Annual Report
(The final report is delayed due to setbacks from COVID-19 on activities with the Sustainability Innovation Fund and Sustainability Awards)

The Sustainability Policy describes the University’s responsibility for and commitment to sustainability, and provides the framework for ongoing implementation of the policy and assists the University Community in incorporating Sustainability into decision making.

Legislative History:

Reviewed by President and Vice-Presidents, February 16, 2011; Approved by the Board of Governors, April 25, 2011

Approval Authority: Board of Governors

Signature: Paul Cantor


Description: Describes the University’s responsibility for and commitment to sustainability, and provides the framework for ongoing implementation of the policy and assists the University Community in incorporating Sustainability into decision making.


I. Definitions

Talloires Declaration: Composed in 1990 at an international conference in Talloires, France, this is the first official statement made by university administrators of a commitment to environmental sustainability in higher education. The Talloires Declaration is a ten-point action plan for incorporating sustainability and environmental literacy in teaching, research, operations and outreach at colleges and universities. It has been signed by hundreds of university presidents and chancellors from around the world. York University signed the declaration in 2002.

II. Policy

  1. In keeping with its subscription to the Talloires Declaration, York will work towards being a sustainable university. A sustainable university is one that enhances the ecological functioning of its campuses; models knowledgeable, active and responsible global citizens; and does so within an integrated, long-term framework of full-cost economic and environmental accounting. Features of a sustainable university include a long-term perspective, a holistic outlook, acceptance of limits, focus on place and active involvement in problem-solving.
  2. York will bring vision, scholarship and high ethical standards to achieving and maintaining institutional leadership in sustainable operations and community engagement.
  3. Progress will be monitored, and measurable goals will be explored and adopted where feasible.
    1. York will draw upon the abilities and expertise of the university community to promote practices that maximize the beneficial effects and minimize the harmful impacts that may arise out of its operational, academic and research activities.
    2. Priority will be given to identifying ways of improving the long-term quality and regenerative capacity of the environmental, social and economic systems that support the University’s activities and needs.
  4. York will strive to be at the forefront of sustainability research and education and will use its capacity and expertise to promote sustainability within and beyond the University, with its alumni, governments and the surrounding communities.
    1. York will encourage the active engagement of all members of the university community in issues of sustainability and will support sustainability awareness in the greater community.
    2. Priority will be given to developing opportunities to collaborate on sustainability initiatives among students, academic and administrative units across and beyond the University.

III. Review

This policy shall be reviewed in two years.

IV. Responsibility

  1. The Board of Governors and all York faculty, students and staff members are responsible for acting in a manner that promote and support the objectives of this policy.
  2. Each of the President and Vice-Presidents will be responsible for advancing sustainability within their respective areas. Each Division will include a reflection of their commitment to sustainability in their annual integrated resource plans.
  3. The President’s Sustainability Council is an advisory body to the President with responsibility for providing input and recommendations on how to advance York University’s sustainability initiatives, projects, and practices that are align with this policy. It serves as a pan-university forum to ensure that the different dimensions of sustainability are integrated into strategies for a York-specific approach to sustainability.

PSC Membership & Meetings

The President's Sustainability Council meets at least quarterly throughout the year with subcommittees establishing their own meeting schedules.

President's Sustainability Council Chair
Professor Ravi de Costa, Faculty of Environmental Studies
rdc@yorku.ca

PSC Working Groups

People
Co-Chairs:
Marian MacGregor, mymac@yorku.ca & Nicole Arsenault, narsenau@yorku.ca

Knowledge
Co-Chairs:
Charles Hopkins, chopkins@edu.yorku.ca & Nicole Arsenault

Place
Co-Chairs:
Helen Psathas, psathas@yorku.ca & Nicole Arsenault

NameTitleTerm
Ravi de CostaChairTerm 2019-2021
Helen PsathasAssistant Vice-President, Facilities ServicesStanding Member(TOR)
Martin BunchAssociate Dean, Research (from one Faculty)Standing Member(TOR)
Celia Haig-BrownAssociate Vice-President Research Standing Member(TOR)
Donald Ippercial Chief Information OfficerStanding Member(TOR)
Graeme StewartChief of Staff, Office of the PresidentStanding Member(TOR)
Alice HovorkaDean, Faculty of Environmental StudiesStanding Member(TOR)
Marian MacGregorExecutive Director, Centre for Human RightsStanding Member(TOR)
Chris WongDirector, Transportation & Master Planning, YUDCStanding Member (TOR)
Anthony BarbisanExecutive Director, Ancillary ServicesStanding Member(TOR)
Byron GrayManager, TD Community Engagement CentreStanding Member(TOR)
Ja'Net HennieStaff Representative, Office of Government & Community RelationsStanding Member(TOR)
Reagan BrownStaff Representative from Glendon CollegeStanding Member(TOR)
Lorna SchwartzentruberAssociate Director, Access Programs & Community Enagement from the Division of the ProvostStanding Member(TOR)
Mario Verrilli (on behalf of VPS)Staff Representative from the Division of the Vice-Provost StudentsStanding Member (TOR)
Richard Silva (on behalf of VPFA)Staff Representative from the Division of the Vice-Provost StudentsStanding Member (TOR)
Nicole ArsenaultProgram Director, Office of Sustainability, VPFAStanding Member(TOR)
Carol McAulay Vice-President, Finance & AdministrationStanding Member(TOR)
Alice PittVice-Provost AcademicStanding Member(TOR)
Lucy FromowitzVice-Provost StudentsStanding Member(TOR)
Satinder BrarTier 1 Canada Research Chair or York Research Chair or similarly distinguished researcherTerm 2019-2021
Ian GarrettFaculty member, AMPDTerm 2019-2021
Darren HoegFaculty member, Faculty of EducationTerm 2019-2021
Pablo IdahosaFaculty Member, Faculty of Graduate Studies Term 2018-2020
Raymond Kwong Faculty member, Faculty of Science (Biology)Term 2019-2021
Laura TaylorFaculty member, FESTerm 2018-2020
Laura McKinnonFaculty member, Glendon CollegeTerm 2019-2021
Danielle DunwoodyFaculty member, HealthTerm 2019-2021
Darryl Reed Faculty member, LA&PSTerm 2018-2020
Paul O'BrienFaculty member, LSETerm 2019-2021
Margaret BoittinFaculty member, Osgoode Hall Law SchoolTerm 2019-2021
Charles ChoFaculty Member, SSBTerm 2018-2020
Usman KhanFaculty member at LargeTerm 2019-2021
Jessie WhyteYFS RepOne year term 
 YUGSA RepOne year term
Emily MartinoStudentOne year term
Karen Abogadil StudentOne year term
Althea ReyesStudentOne year term

York University's mission is the pursuit, preservation and dissemination of knowledge through excellence in research, teaching and community service. There is an opportunity for York’s faculty and students to join the intellectual potential of the world’s higher education community to address the global issues identified by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Many of York’s faculty have expertise and have researched the issues identified in the 17 SDGs, often in local context and there is much to share and build upon.

York University aspires to develop pathways for all to engage in an approach throughout the whole institution, including teaching and learning, research and community service, using experiential education opportunities and collaboration through enhanced concepts of both internationalization and global citizenship.

The Knowledge Working Group has created a mandate to enhance and document York’s current and emerging successes in addressing sustainability and the SDGs within curriculum and research. The Working Group meets regularly throughout the academic year to build collegial engagement in sustainability research, curriculum development and promoting engagement in global SDG initiatives.

For a better understanding of York University current and further growing engagement for the SDGs and in preparation for the University Academic Plan 2020-2025, an overall dynamic Knowledge Report for activities serving the 17 SDGs in research and teaching has been initiated. This report serves as a dynamic knowledge platform and is periodically updated. Download the report York SDGs Report 2020

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