Blog by: Sanjida Amin
Theoretical knowledge gives us profound comprehension of a concept through observing it in the context of a greater whole and understanding the reason behind practically. In line with this, Brock University Students enrolled in the Master of Sustainability program, fall 2022, participated in a Brock tour as part of their experiential education for the course SSAS 5P01.
The students were taken on a tour of the Facilities Management (FM) department and Brock’s energy systems, where they were able to learn and see what is happening on campus to manage the Brock campus from all perspectives, such as planning, operations, reporting and managing energy efficiency. As SSAS 5P01 instructor Dr. Jessica Blythe explained, “The objective of this class was to engage graduate students in a direct experience with the Facilities Management department at Brock University in order to develop knowledge, skills, and capacity for enacting sustainability.” She added, “I am grateful to our partners in FM, who hosted us in the Brock tunnels and described their approach for advancing sustainability on campus. Seeing, for example, the central station, where the FM team can monitor and control all energy use, heating, and cooling on campus, offers a unique window into how this can happen at scale.”
The day began with a visit to the Facilities Management department where students got to know about how utilities are managed, how facilities are maintained, and how the co-generation plant is designed within a 2km tunnel. Through exploring and seeing the whole tunnel in-person, participants from both the thesis and co-op schemes were surprised to know how the District Energy System (DES) is maintained to increase efficiency, reduce carbon footprint, and save money for the university. After the tour, students enjoyed a cheerful and interactive presentation session by Amanda Smits, Centre Administrator, ESRC, Mary Quintana, Director of Asset Management and Utilities, and Drew Cullen, Manager of District Energy. Throughout the presentation, students learned about the domains of Sustainability at Brock, including the Project Charter with Facilities Management, the Partnership Scope, Sustainability Planning, Sustainability in Operations, Sustainability Reporting & Assessment, and diversified initiatives of Sustainability at Brock to a greater extent.
This experience was incredibly valuable for all students, as it provided them with the opportunity to not only meet many of the resource personnel of the university, but also because they got to visit various campus facilities to gain a better understanding of how the campus is run behind-the-scenes. Erin Marie Isaac, who is currently pursuing her Master of Sustainability and is working as a Teaching Assistant at Brock, said that “Learning about the various types of environmental jobs through the co-op program and especially through experiential learning opportunities such as the tour of Brock’s energy facilities has been extremely helpful and inspiring. These experiences have provided me with the knowledge and skills to confidently start my professional journey in the environmental field”.
Another SSAS student, Zaara Momin, shared that “It’s truly remarkable to see the effort Brock is doing in terms of sustainability in collaboration with facilities management. The real-world strategies that have been employed throughout the project to lessen its impact on the environment are motivating, and they helped me remember why I chose to enrol in the Sustainability program at the first place”.
Check out the photos below for some highlights from the memorable trip of Facilities Management at Brock! Please visit the following websites to know more about FM and Sustainability at Brock.