Sustainability at Brock

  • The O-Week Sustainability Challenge Is Back!

    Image preview

    By: Thurkkha Thayalalingam and Evan Rodenburg

    Back by popular demand, the O-Week Sustainability Challenge initiative is calling on Brock University students to track their sustainable actions for the chance to win one of five prizes. 

    In partnership with Blackstone Energy Services, Brock University is hosting its third annual Welcome Back Sustainability Challenge! From September 11 to 15, students can log their sustainability actions, ranging anywhere from taking public transportation to turning off the lights, onto the EcoBoss app. 

    The five students with the most actions logged by the end of the challenge will be entered into a draw to win one of the three Apple products: an Apple iPad, Apple Watch or Apple AirPods. The two students not chosen in the draw will automatically win a $50 Campus Store gift card. 

    Register to participate in the challenge between September 5 and September 10 on the EcoBoss App following the instructions below: 

    1. Once the free EcoBoss app is downloaded, review and accept the app’s privacy policy
    2. Create an account using your Brock email and enter Brock’s challenge code: badgers
    3. Click the badge icon to join the Brock “Welcome Back Sustainability Challenge”
    4. Press the green “Join Challenge” button and you’re all set!

    The challenge will open at 12:00am on Monday September 11, and close at noon on Friday September 15. The winners of the challenge will be announced at 3pm on September 15! 

    The goal of the sustainability challenge is to encourage environmental stewardship throughout the Brock community by encouraging students to adopt more sustainable habits. The result of this challenge has garnered substantial participation over the years, resulting in large reductions in CO2 emissions, increased amounts of waste diverted from landfills, and significant savings in water use.

    Categories: Challenge/Contest, Student Contributor, Sustainability at Brock

  • Volunteering in Sustainability: How to Find Volunteer Opportunities to Complete your Living Planet Leader Certification

    By: Brenna Mervyn*

    About the Program 

    The WWF Living Planet Leader program (LPL) has provided an opportunity for students at Brock to complete a certificate in sustainability while completing their degree. LPL is a professionally recognized certification with four main pillars: volunteerism, sustainability in academics, personal sustainability, and leadership. Any student at Brock is eligible to complete this certification, regardless of program or faculty. The following post will be focused on the volunteerism pillar, and how Brock students can complete their 40 hours of volunteer work remotely or in the Niagara Region in relation to sustainability or conservation.  

    Why Volunteering is Important to Sustainability 

    Volunteering and community involvement are key factors in sustainability and conservation. Many organizations working in stewardship or conservation are underfunded. Therefore, volunteerism helps keep parks and events possible for everyone to enjoy. Conservation areas and provincial parks require volunteers to keep areas safe and clean for public use. Volunteers are also key to running community events. Community events aid immensely in spreading awareness of sustainability issues and how to create change in our everyday lives. Volunteerism is also a tool to foster a sense of pride and care for the community we live in. This also amplifies the drive to change the community for the better. Education is also a huge benefit of volunteerism. Many programs for children are volunteer-run, and therefore volunteers play a large role in educating the next generation on issues of sustainability.  

    Portals for Volunteer Opportunities 

    There are various job boards and volunteer sites that compile open volunteer opportunities. These portals are excellent tools when searching for volunteer positions. Keywords such as sustainability, conservation, environment, or climate change can help narrow down results and find a position that is right for you while filling the LPL requirements. Some useful sites are listed below.  

    Organizations and Opportunities 

    1. Organize a litter cleanup! 

    The Earth Day Great Global Cleanup is an excellent resource to register litter pickups globally. Their website outlines how to kickstart a cleanup whether it be a private or public event. Organizing a litter pickup is an excellent way to engage with the community while practicing environmental volunteerism and leadership. There is no minimum group size, so whether it be a group of 5 or a group of 50, organizing a litter pickup is a great way to get volunteer hours while enhancing local biodiversity.  

    2. Volunteering with Niagara Parks 

    Sustainable Niagara Falls | Niagara Falls Canada

    Niagara Parks works to preserve and educate the public on the natural and cultural heritage of the Niagara River Corridor. The Niagara River Corridor is a key to biodiversity in the Niagara Region and is home to hundreds of species of flora and fauna for which Niagara is known for. The Niagara Parks Commission is responsible for the Niagara Glen Naturalization Site and the Dufferin Islands, which are huge tourist destinations (especially during bird migration seasons). Conserving these areas under high stress from tourism requires work from volunteers to manage the sites and educate the community and tourists of their importance. This means that Niagara Parks offers various opportunities to get involved through special events, tree planting, or site management. Their site has a list of many volunteer opportunities, and they even offer a volunteer appreciation program for continued participation!  

    3. Volunteer with the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority 

    The NPCA is a resource management agency working on local watershed preservation and conservation. Volunteer opportunities can be found based in various fields. Whether you’re interested in working with children, site maintenance, conservation, or volunteering for special events, there are many opportunities to find the right fit for you. The NPCA is also running the Balls Falls Nature School beginning this September, which is an excellent opportunity to work with and educate children on conservation and sustainability.  

    4. Organize or participate in a BioBlitz! 

    Now, you may be asking, what on Earth is a BioBlitz? A BioBlitz is a community event which creates a biological survey of an environment to log anthropogenic impacts, population density, invasive species, and biodiversity composition. A BioBlitz encourages citizen scientists, community members, and students to participate using surveying apps such as iNaturalist to make identification quick, easy, and accurate.  Last month, Brock partnered with the Niagara Parks Commission to hold the Dufferin Islands BioBlitz which was a huge success. Not only are events like a BioBlitz fun and beneficial to research, but they also involve the community and are a great way to increase interest in issues such as invasive species. iNaturalist is a great resource to find and organize a BioBlitz, as well as Sustainability at Brock who organized the Dufferin Islands BioBlitz.  

    There are many opportunities throughout the Niagara Region for volunteering in sustainability or stewardship. What is most important is finding which opportunity is the right fit for you and your goals. When searching for volunteer positions it is useful to check recruitment sites often, so you don’t miss out on any opportunities. After completing your volunteer hours, don’t forget to upload proof of completion to your Living Planet Leader profile to fulfill the volunteerism requirement!  

    *This blog post was written as part of an assignment for ENSU 3P91: Leadership in Environmental Sustainability Internship Course. If you are interested in taking part in this course, please visit:  

    Categories: Community, Niagara, Outdoors, Student Contributor, Study Sustainability at Brock, Sustainability, Sustainability at Brock

  • Students logged sustainable actions to showcase environmental commitment leading to Earth Day!

    By: Sanjida Amin

    From April 17 to 21, 2023, Brock University hosted another Sustainability Challenge to encourage engagement in environmental action for Earth Day. Earth Day was first celebrated on April 22, 1970, and it is considered as the beginning of the environmental movement. Over the years, Earth Day has become one of the world’s greatest environmental participatory movement on the planet. The day is now regarded as a global initiative to promote the protection and care of our planet.

    To celebrate earth Day, Brock students took part in a Sustainability Challenge by showcasing daily sustainable actions. Brock University partnered with Blackstone Energy Services with the hope to encourage students to contribute to a sustainable campus and incorporate sustainable solutions in their daily lives through innovative and engaging software. Students used the Blackstone Energy EcoBoss app to log daily sustainable actions, such as using a reusable water bottle and carpooling, over the course of five days. The rules were simple: students were required to join challenge through registration once the app was downloaded and log all sustainable actions made throughout those five days on the EcoBoss app to accumulate points. Those with the highest scores at the end of the challenge won the following prizes:

    1st place prize: Niagara Parks Experience Vouchers, sponsored by The Niagara Parks Commission.

    2nd place prize: CYBORIS Solar Bluetooth Speaker.

    3rd place prize: Solar Pack Charger, sponsored by Blackstone Energy.

    4th, 5th & 6th place prizes: Sustainable lunch bag with a 16oz Hydro Flask and a wheat straw food storage container, sponsored by the Campus Store, the ESRC, and Blackstone Energy.

    7th to 10th place prizes: Seed planting kit with potting soil and seeds from the Brock University Seed Library.

    Popular actions which were tracked using the app included using reusable water bottles, turning off lights, turning off water while brushing teeth, taking shorter showers, saving energy, eating leftovers, recycling, using public transportation, composting, air drying dishes, buying local, and so much more. Students from a range of academic fields and programmes-including business, education, science, and the arts-took part in the competition and engaged enthusiastically throughout the duration. Through the app, we were able to estimate CO2 savings, waste diversion, and water savings from logged actions. Total estimations include the following:

    • 2,027kg in CO2 savings
    • 114kg in waste diverted
    • 4 thousand litres in water savings

    The competition aimed to include Brock University’s student community in sustainability initiatives at campus and show how simple it is to incorporate sustainable practises into daily living. Moving forward, there are plans to host more sustainability challenges to motivate students to continue their environmental actions to minimize energy usage, reduce their carbon footprint, and contribute to the health of the environment!


    Categories: Challenge/Contest, Student Contributor, Sustainability at Brock, Uncategorised

  • Interview with Jay Ismailovic: Brock’s Green Cleaning Program

    Image courtesy of Floortje from Getty Images Signature

    By: Kassie Burns

    Behind the scenes, many individuals take initiative to incorporate sustainability on Brock University’s campus. Often, these acts of stewardship are implemented everyday without people realizing it. We wanted to highlight one of these initiatives by discussing Brock’s Green Cleaning Program, which runs through custodial services. Jay Ismailovic, Manager of Custodial Services, took some time to share with us his thoughts about the program and green cleaning products on campus. 

    1. Why do you think it is important to incorporate environmentally conscious and green cleaning products on campus? 

    Green cleaning is the process of selecting cleaning products that are safer for people and the planet. Using green cleaning products is good for the health and wellbeing of all of us on campus. Many benefits can be identified by using green cleaning products from preventing unnecessary chemicals from being released into the environment, to improving the quality of indoor air, protecting the health of custodians who use chemicals daily, protecting the health of the entire Brock community, reducing the exposure to allergy-causing substances, preventing the environmental damage, etc.

    2. How do you determine what constitutes an environmentally conscious cleaning product? Are there any requirements to meet a standard? (i.e., no phosphates or fragrance, recyclable/compostable packaging, etc.) 

    For cleaning chemical to be considered environmentally friendly it has to have a third-party certification for cleaning chemicals such as Green Seal, EcoLogo, Greenguard, etc. and it has to be effective while minimizing wasted chemicals, water, energy and time to clean and not harm human health or the environment. Third-party certification means that product has undergone rigorous scientific testing and strict auditing, to prove its compliance with stringent environmental performance standards. It is also important to know that producers of green cleaning products incorporate recycled content and reduce the amount of material in packaging, and they make sure that every shipping box and all empty containers are recyclable. And one other significant benefit is also achieved by producers delivering “super concentrated” chemicals in closed-loop dispensers. For example: super concentrated product reduces up to 98.5% in packaging materials compared to non-green products. Cleaning chemical dispensers also eliminate over-use of cleaning chemicals.

    3. How did the transition process work when switching from artificial chemical-based products to more environmentally conscious products? How long has Brock been using green products?

    Custodial Services at Brock University has been using green cleaning products for over 15 years. The idea to switch to green cleaning products was a result of our ongoing commitment to health & safety, innovation and a greener future. Transition process included number of important steps such as: review of all products and practices being in place at the time, action plan, testing and evaluation of various certified green cleaning products, selection of products, custodians training, implementation, etc. That was a joint effort of all stakeholders on campus which resulted in implementation of Green Cleaning Program.

    4. What are you hoping to achieve by using these products? 

    By using green cleaning products at Brock University our goal is to reduce the exposure of students, custodians, faculty, staff members and visitors to potentially harmful cleaning chemicals which negatively affect air quality, human health, building finishes, and the environment we study and work in. Every single one of us has the responsibility to do everything we can at work, or outside work, to reduce our environmental footprint and leave our planet unharmed for future generations and every step, and every action, counts. And Custodial Services definitely is one of the leaders on campus in doing its part by using environmentally friendly, green, cleaning products and supporting all sustainability initiatives.

    5. How do you think this initiative will create a positive impact on campus?  

    Sustainability is a global challenge facing all and certainly Brock University is dealing with those challenges. All our activities on campus have a direct impact on the environment. Every day thousands of us are on the campus working and studying, as well as many students are living in our beautiful student residences. All this activity requires joint effort of many employees to ensure things are running smoothly and safely. And definitely keeping things safe and clean for campus community requires use of many cleaning products daily. And with embracing green cleaning products on campus we are creating a positive impact by protecting health and safety of Brock community and ensuring that cleanliness and sustainability go hand in hand.

    This initiative contributes to the following Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), which you can read more about here: SDG 3, SDG 12, SDG 13

    Many thanks are given to Jay for taking the time and consideration to share his insight into the Green Cleaning Program at Brock, which has helped form this remarkable good news story!

    Categories: Student Contributor, Sustainability at Brock

  • Tour of Brock’s District Energy System – Experiential Education for SSAS Students

    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.

    Sustainability at Brock  

    Facilities Management 

    Tags: , , ,
    Categories: Education, Student Contributor, Sustainability at Brock

  • International Development Week and THE Impact Rankings

    By: Sanjida Amin

    International Development Week

    The Sustainable Development Goals are at the heart of International Development Week, which Brock University is marking with a weeklong series of events running from Feb. 5 to Feb. 11, 2023. The events aim to raise awareness of the United Nations’ (UN) 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the steps needed to achieve a more peaceful, inclusive, and prosperous world. The 2030 Agenda has established an ambitious set of 17 goals identified as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Through bringing an end to environmental degradation and building a society free of poverty, inequality, and hunger, the SDGs aim to create a safe and peaceful world with full and productive employment, access to quality education and universal health coverage, gender equality, and more. 

    Brock acknowledges that a sustainable campus involves the dedication and cooperation of everyone at the university, in the Niagara community, and beyond. During International Development Week, the Brock community will explore the SDGs and several approaches we can take to help pave the way towards greater sustainability. One of the events during the week will be a presentation on the Times Higher Education (THE) Impact Rankings and Brock’s submission to them. The presentation will be given virtually on Feb. 6 at 12pm. Please visit ExperienceBU to learn more about this event and to register! 

    THE Impact Rankings

    The Times Higher Education (THE) Impact Rankings are world performance tables that evaluate universities based on their progress towards achieving the SDGs. THE Impact Rankings are open to any institutions offering undergraduate or graduate-level education. Using the SDGs as a means of gauging a university’s sustainability performance, they employ precisely calibrated indicators across four major areas—research, stewardship, outreach, and teaching.  

    Brock University’s Submission to THE Impact Rankings

    In 2022, Brock placed in the 201-300th ranking category and received significant scores for each of the top four SDGs submitted:​ SDG 3 (68.3), SDG 5 (61.6), SDG 8 (73.8), and SDG 17 (87.9). For the 2023 submission, Brock chose to submit evidence for a total of seven SDGs, which include: 

    • SDG 3 – Good Health and Wellbeing 
    • SDG 4 – Quality Education​ 
    • SDG 5 – Gender Equality​ 
    • SDG 7- Affordable and Clean Energy​ 
    • SDG 8 – Decent Work and Economic Growth​ 
    • SDG 13 – Climate Action  
    • SDG 17 – Partnership for the Goals​ 

    Each university submits data as evidence towards various metrics, which require a specific combination of quantitative and qualitative data. The presentation on Feb. 6 will provide attendees with an overview of some of the data and information submitted by Brock for the 2023 rankings. 

    Next Steps and Future Planning​

    Official results of THE Impact Rankings 2023 submission will be announced in April 2023, and a Brock News story will be shared with information on the university’s ranking. Brock plans to continue to submit to the rankings annually and enhance efforts, including submitting to more SDGs every year.​  

    Brock University’s community of dynamic students, exceptional researchers, staff, and alumni all collaborate to make a positive contribution to social impact and sustainability. For more information on THE Impact Rankings and how Brock is contributing to the SDGs, please visit the Sustainability at Brock website!

    Tags: , ,
    Categories: Events, Student Contributor, Sustainability at Brock

  • Sustainable Transportation Options at Brock

    By: Sanjida Amin

    Sustainable transportation is one of the key considerations in protecting environment and preventing climate change. Carbon emission and climate change are major issues that have been addressed globally and it is our collective responsibility to find ways to contribute to reduce carbon emissions. One of the ways we can do this is by adopting sustainable means of transportations in our everyday lives. Brock University is committed to promoting sustainable transportation, by offering more environment friendly means of transportations which may reduce on campus carbon emissions by a significant percentage. According to Natural Resource Canada,  passenger vehicles are one of the major contributors of local greenhouse gas emissions. Apart from single-passenger vehicles, there are many alternatives to allow individuals to still travel but in a more sustainable way. Let’s explore some of these transportation offerings below:

    Choose Your Sustainable Transportation

    Public Transportation

    Niagara Region and St. Catharines Transit is offering public transportation facilities to the students of Brock University through the Universal Bus Pass. Most of the city routes are covered by this transportation facility and students, staffs, faculty can use this option, rather than using personal vehicles. The bus goes inside the campus in a regular interval. Both undergraduate and graduate students qualify for a universal bus pass, which provides them with the opportunity to get access to St. Catharines, Thorold, Niagara Falls, Welland, Fort Erie, Pelham and the Niagara Regional Transit Systems. So, leaving the personal vehicles at home and using the transit service can reduce carbon emissions and promote sustainable transportation behavior. Each stakeholder of Brock University can make great positive impact on climate change by adopting transit services whenever possible.


    Biking is fun way to get from one place to another. It is also physically refreshing and is one way we can fit exercise into our day. Biking is an environmentally sustainable behavior as it saves gas, fuel and reduces overall carbon emissions by a lot. For every 7 kilometers travelled by bicycle as opposed to driving a car, one kilogram of CO2 emissions is saved, according to the United Nations Environment Programme. According to the same UN report, cycling saves 150 grammes of CO2 for every kilometer travelled as opposed to driving.

    It occupies small portion of roads, thus reduce traffic congestions and carbon emissions while remain stuck in roads. Brock University promotes biking by offering the superb cycling facilities inside the campus area. There are over 30 bike racks on the main and east campus that students, staffs and faculty can use in order to safely secure bikes. There are also cycling lanes just outside of the campus area on main roads which offer dedicated and safe biking experiences. Please see this page to learn more about cycling paths near Brock.

    Electric Vehicles

    Electric Vehicles are modern means of transportation that are reducing our reliance on gass and oil and subsequently reducing the emission of carbon dioxide. Brock University is promoting this environment friendly and sustainable transportation option by offering on campus charging stations for electronic vehicles. There are now 22 ports across 13 stations around campus for Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs) and Electric Vehicles (EVs) to charge the battery while parked. To know more about charging points please visit parking services page. The stations are a 90 Amp unit that provides up to 90 kms of travel on a one-hour charge on select e-vehicles. It has also different indicators to show status of charging.

    Walking and Other Activity Based Transportations

    Walking or inline skating is highly beneficial to health and also offers to get fresh air which can make you mentally refresh in comparison to driving own vehicle. These options produce little to no emissions while offering alternative means of transportation specially those who stay on campus or nearby to the campus area.

    Take Action Today

    Choosing sustainable transportation options is just one of the ways you can reduce your carbon emissions and have a collective positive impact on climate change. Leaving your own vehicles at home and instead choosing public transportation, biking or deciding to walk even two times a week can make significant impact. To know more, please visit Sustainable Transportation Options at Brock.

    Categories: Student Contributor, Sustainability at Brock, Transportation

  • Students in ADST 5P70 Participate in Sustainability Challenge

    By: Kassie Burns

    Screenshot containing challenge information (date range and course code).

    Students in ADST 5P70: Applied Behaviour Analysis Measurement, Research and Evaluation, have found themselves busy competing in the Blackstone Energy App Sustainability Challenge. The class has been logging sustainable actions for the last two months! Course instructor, Dr. Kendra Thomson, described the course as “a first-year course in our Masters of Applied Disability Studies (MADS) and MA in the Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) specialization in our Applied Disability Studies Department. One of the main course objectives is to give students an overview of and be informed consumers of applied and clinical research, especially in ABA”.

    When asked “why did you decide hosting a Sustainability Challenge was important to incorporate into your class”?  She replied “I have been passionate about the environment since a child of the 80s & 90s, about a decade after the first Earth Day in 1971. I was a proud member of Kids for Saving Earth and used to pick up garbage in my small town with friends in the evening for fun. I have continuously tried to be a more environmentally conscious citizen and feel that I have a responsibility as an educator to inspire interest in this topic and encourage reflection and behaviour change in students. For the last few years, I have tried to incorporate a sustainability challenge into my classes. This stemmed from observing the large amount of waste produced in our all-day weekend model classes.  In the weekend model for our part-time classes, we are in class all day, after which I noticed the garbage bins were overflowing. I challenged the students in one of my classed about 5 or so years ago to see if we could reduce the amount of waste in the bin the next class by encouraging reusable coffee mugs and lunch containers. The successful outcome was visible to all students. This grew into it becoming a self-monitoring task built into all of my courses in which students are asked to report on their sustainable behaviours between classes for bonus points. The addition of the app is a bonus!”.

    While conversing with Kendra, it was amazing to see her enthusiasm towards promoting more sustainable lifestyles and was a wonderful example of it in practice. Her class has just finished the challenge and congratulations goes to all involved with the top three leaders Thomasy You, Mikhaela Fernandez, and Arwen Hunter!

    Reflecting on the experience Arwen Hunter, Masters of Applied Disability Studies (M.ADS) student, comments “using the Blackstone app was an excellent way to digitize the drive toward sustainability. Not only did it make it easier to record our sustainability actions, it also highlighted how many ways there are to make change in your day to day life. I was excited to see how many my family had already incorporated behavioural changes and was able to adjust with relative ease. The bonus marks were a great motivator to drive change”.

    Emily Houston, Masters of Applied Disability Studies (M.ADS) student, shared “I have really enjoyed using the app to not only keep me on the right track towards sustainability, but I found it very helpful to see all the different ways to live sustainably that I wasn’t aware of. It has definitely made me more aware of my behaviour and has encouraged me to do better for our planet”.

    Overall, the challenge showed great success and promoted sustainable lifestyles for students and family. Some of the most common actions the students logged can be seen listed below!

    Sustainability Challenge actions included:

    • Using a reusable shopping bag
    • Air-dried laundry
    • Washing with cold water
    • Turning off the lights
    • Using a reusable mug
    • Turning the tap off while brushing teeth
    • Ensuring full dishwasher loads, prior to running
    • Eating local produce
    • Using a reusable lunchbox
    • Recycling/composting
    • Shuting off computer monitors
    • Skipping meat
    • Dressing for the season
    • Taking public transit
    • Eating leftovers



    Categories: Challenge/Contest, Student Contributor, Sustainability at Brock

  • Brock Students embraced Welcome Back Sustainability Challenge

    By: Sanjida Amin

    Every day we make choices in our lives that affect the environment around us whether it be the food we intake or how we choose to get to work or school. Leading a sustainable lifestyle and showing how we are environmentally responsible is a significant step towards taking climate action.

    The university hosted another Welcome Back Sustainability Challenge on the week of September 12th – 16th, 2022 wherein Brock students choose to take part in a sustainability challenge and steps in their daily lives to make small, sustainable changes. Brock University partnered with Blackstone energy services to engage the students in contributing to a sustainable campus and to easily integrate sustainable solutions into everyday life through an innovative and interactive app. To participate in the competition, students were motivated to track their daily sustainable habits over a period of five days through using the unique Blackstone Energy EcoBoss app.

    The actions were simple and daily life hacks included using reusable water bottles, turning off lifes, turning off water while brushing, recycling, using public transportation, etc. The rules of the competition to participate were straight forward: Students were required to join challenge and log all sustainable actions made throughout the day on the Blackstone Energy app to accumulate points and to compete for prizes. Prizes were given to the students who placed in the top 10 by accumulating the most points included an Apple iPad, an Apple Watch, AirPods, $75 campus store gift cards and five $20 Campus Store gift cards for those who placed 6th to 10th, which were donated by the Campus Store. Those in the top five were placed in a draw for the three apple prizes and our winners are highlighted below. Students from a variety of disciplines and programs, ranging from business and education to science and the arts, participated in the competition and actively engaged throughout the event.

    Through all of the actions logged into the app, total impact, which were estimated by the EcoBoss app, including the following:

    • 6 thousand kg. in CO2 savings
    • 1,073 kg. in waste diverted
    • 1 thousand litres in water savings

    The prime objective of the Welcome Back Sustainability challenge was to demonstrate and make students realize that how easy it is to contribute to the environment through impactful sustainable choices on a regular basis. Moving forward, there are plans to host more sustainability challenges competitions periodically to motivate the students to continue their eco-friendly actions to minimize the usage of natural resources, reduce carbon footprint and contribute to healthy eco-systems.

    Categories: Challenge/Contest, Student Contributor, Sustainability at Brock

  • Brock Students Celebrated Earth Hour with Sustainability Challenge

    By: Madison Lepp

    On the week of March 21 to 25, Brock hosted its second Sustainability Challenge to encourage engagement in Earth Hour. Earth Hour engages millions of people in switching off their lights to show support for our planet. The day has become a catalyst for positive environmental impact – driving major legislative changes by harnessing the power of collective action. This year, 2022, was branded as The Year That Counts. Later this year, world leaders will be coming together to attend a critical United Nations conference on nature & biodiversity. Happening shortly before the CBD COP 15, Earth Hour is a crucial opportunity to put the spotlight on this conference and build the global momentum needed to pressure world leaders into action later in the year.

    The challenge, which was hosted in partnership with Blackstone Energy Services, encouraged students to log their sustainable actions over a one-week period on the Blackstone Energy app. The goal of the challenge was to engage the student community in contributing to Sustainability at Brock and highlight ways to easily integrate sustainable solutions into everyday life. Actions included turning the tap off when brushing your teeth, composting, air drying dishes, buying local, and so much more.

    “We are thrilled with the level of student participation we’ve seen in throughout the sustainability challenges we’ve held this year and are hopeful these challenges are allowing students to see how small changes they can make in their own lives can have large scale impacts. ” said Amanda Smits, Centre Administrator at the Environmental Sustainability Research Centre.

    The rules were simple: log all sustainable actions you made throughout the day on the app to accumulate points. The three students who accumulated the most points by the end of the competition won a Grouphug window solar charger, a Cyboris solar-powered Bluetooth speaker, and a Hydro Flask from the Campus Store plus two Stasher reusable silicone bags.

    Winners of the challenge were happy to share the impact this initiative had on their day-to-day lives. First-place finisher Sydney Macintyre, noted how she has brought the actions taken during the challenge into her everyday life:

    “My most logged action was walk there,” she said. “I am finding myself walking to close locations everyday versus driving. This challenge has brought to light many ways in which sustainability can be incorporated into your daily itinerary!”

    Second-place finisher noted how the challenge made her really think about the bigger picture

    “This challenge made me appreciate how significant Earth Hour is,” said KC Vega. “It was a way to contribute something good and positive to help save our Earth. I would highly encourage others to take part in this challenge; as I would definitely participate again in the next one!”

    Through the app, we were able to estimate CO2 savings, waste diversion, and water savings from students logging their sustainable actions. With over 1,000 actions logged, an estimated total of 1,390 kilograms of CO2(about half the weight of an elephant) and 12,660 litres of water (about half the volume of a large U-Haul truck) were saved. Additionally, 75 kilograms of waste (about the weight of a washing machine) was diverted. The top actions included using a reusable water bottle, turning off the water when brushing your teeth, recycling, using a reusable mug, and turning off the lights when leaving a room.

    “I liked the challenge because it was a fun way to connect with other students off-campus in a challenging way!” Said third-place finisher, Victoria Stinson. “It was genuinely so much fun competing while completing sustainable actions!”

    The goal of the Sustainability Challenge was to highlight Earth Hour and how easy it is to make small, yet impactful, sustainable choices every day. Students are encouraged to continue taking eco-friendly actions to reduce their carbon footprint and contribute to the health of the environment!

    Categories: Challenge/Contest, Climate Change, Student Contributor, Sustainability at Brock