Dawson Receives International Sustainable Institution of the Year Award

Dawson College was named Sustainable School of the Year by the Alliance for Sustainability Leadership in Education at the virtual International Green Gown Awards ceremony on July 6, 2022.

Dawson College.

This award recognizes and celebrates outstanding sustainability initiatives from universities and colleges around the world. Dawson College, Quebec’s largest Anglophone CEGEP in Westmount, won ahead of 55 other finalists from schools in 19 different countries.

“I was pleasantly surprised that Dawson won this award, especially when I learned that it was an international competition. It reminded me once again why Dawson was the best choice for me and my green fingers,” says Elizabeth Lebuis, an environmental science student. “It is very gratifying to have won this award and I would like to recognize that it has been won through the combined effort of students, staff and teachers. Our motto is to reconnect people, community and nature in everything we do,” added Jennifer De Vera, Project Development Officer at Dawson College’s Department of Sustainability.

The Living Campus project

“The college won this award through our Living Campus project,” said research assistant who works in the Sustainability Department at Dawson College, Kal Rochon.

For example, Dawson has set up a breeding center for monarch butterflies, adopted by teachers and the various departments of the college who care for them until the butterflies emerge from their chrysalises. The butterflies are then tagged and released into the Ecological Peace Garden to begin their flight to Mexico.

Monarch raised in Dawson’s Rooftop Monarch Rearing Project. Credit: Anita Lineckev.

Also as part of the Campus Vivant project, several bee colonies are kept on the rooftops of Dawson College and the honey is collected by students in the fall. Dawson’s Department of Student Life hosts a health challenge each year for teams of students and staff. Each team that participates in a physical activity equivalent to 1249 kilometers, or the distance traveled by 12 female bees in flight to produce a teaspoon of honey, will receive a special prize: a teaspoon of honey from the Peace Garden.

The Green Gown Award is an endorsement of Dawson’s mission to educate our students through transformative and innovative learning activities that engage students and empower them to become active and responsible citizens.

Diane Gauvin, Executive Director of Dawson College

Dawson also encourages urban farming with vegetables grown on several university roofs in self-watering containers or raised beds. These gardens are maintained by student volunteers. Courses related to roof gardens are offered through a variety of educational modules, including organic gardening, food self-sufficiency, and urban agricultural production models. Finally, the College aims to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions and offset the rest of its carbon footprint by planting more than 5,000 trees on marginal land in Nicaragua.

I am proud to work in a university that prioritizes community and environmental well-being. And when I say environment, that includes the non-human world on our campus.

Jennifer De Vera, Project Development Officer in the Sustainability Department at Dawson College

The International Green Gown Awards award is endorsed by the United Nations Environment Program as part of the United Nations High Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development. It is supported by the Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU), the Agence universitaire de la Francophonie (AUF) and the International Association of Universities (IAU) to encourage the next generation to commit to a sustainable future.

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