Earth Day: 9 ways BCIT made sustainability a top priority

Each year, the world comes together on Earth Day to call for bold action, innovation, and global education in combatting climate change. BCIT shares this strong commitment to sustainability, as such, our Sustainability Vision aims to enable people to live socially just lives within ecological limits. To mark this worldwide event, here are some highlights from the BCIT community that demonstrate our dedication to environmental stewardship and celebration of our Earth.

1) How the BCIT Seed Library is helping preserve local biodiversity

BCIT seed library
The seed library offers seeds for flowers, herbs, vegetables.

With a goal to create greener spaces, the seed library lends seeds to its patrons free of charge. Patrons can grow the plants, and return the new seeds to support the next year’s collection. According to Allison Griffin, BCIT Librarian, libraries are great equalizers in education, she says that, “With the seed library, we’re building on a model of libraries as a public place that will help you learn and build, and taking on this ecological aspect is critical.” The 2021 seeds have arrived and can be picked up at our Burnaby campus.

2) Presentation Idol integrates sustainability with the Ecocity Legacy Award

In this annual technology presentation competition, BCIT engineering and technology students present technology-related topics as they vie for the honour of being the top presenter. With the addition of the Ecocity Legacy Award, students are encouraged to showcase innovations in sustainability, such as such as technology for sustainability, cradle to cradle design for a circular economy, or the intersection of engineering and social justice. Tamara Bogicevic took the 2021 Ecocity Legacy Award for her presentation on how blue-green roofs can help cities with urban rainwater management.

3) Master your EV etiquette: the Do’s and Don’ts of EV charging

To help educate people on EV etiquette including when to charge, the BCIT Smart Microgrid Applied Research Team (SMART) teamed up with three BCIT Digital Design and Development students to design and produce three short animated videos to help illustrate the proper way of good etiquette when charging an electric vehicle. SMART works on research, development, and communication initiatives aimed at innovative solutions for reducing barriers to EV adoption.

Learn more about charging your electric vehicle at BCIT campuses.

4) BCIT South Wetland Restoration project brings education to life

Our campus is a ‘living lab’ for students to hone their skills. For instance, in a recent collaboration, students from the School of Construction and the Environment — including Ecological Restoration (ER), Forest and Natural Areas Management (FNAM), and Fish, Wildlife and Recreation (FWR) programs — worked together to transform an empty space  on the south end of the BCIT Burnaby Campus, near Guichon Creek, into a vibrant wetland. The hands-on experience of building and restoring a real-life wetland is an important part of the Ecological Restoration Degree Program at BCIT. In addition to the learning experience, it will benefit the community as a whole. As Ken Ashley, Director of the BCIT Rivers Institute says, “It’s going to be a place where people in the community can go and immerse themselves in nature.”

5) BCIT Centre for Ecocities receives international award of recognition for its positive impact

As one of three 2020 Incredible Impacts Award recipients, the Centre is recognized for its innovation and impact made in areas of sustainability, accessibility, and ecology. The Centre for Ecocities is a legacy of the Ecocity World Summit 2019. The Centre is committed to supporting the vision of Ecocity Builders, the owners of the Summit Series—to provide tools and training to cities locally, and around the world, to help them become ecologically healthy.

6) BCIT Energy Team launches real-time energy use dashboard to advance sustainability

Saving energy and reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions requires knowing where you started. Now, with the BCIT Energy Dashboard, the community can see the journey as it is happening. As part of BCIT’s commitment to advance sustainability across BC and around the globe, the BCIT Energy Team built an interactive tool to monitor real-time energy use of buildings across BCIT campuses.

7) Award-winning vision: Colin Pinchin’s architectural design for sustainability and compassion in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside

As a BCIT Architectural Science student, Colin Pinchin conceived the architectural building plan Pathways, which is focussed on helping one of Vancouver’s most marginalized communities, the Downtown Eastside. Pathways is designed to be a hub of transitional housing and skills development within a mixed-use building. The spaces maximize natural social functions in ways that enable energy savings, reduce environmental impact, and elevate human well-being. Colin’s project was awarded the Andy Kesteloo Memorial Student Project Award at the 2020 Leadership and Green Building Excellence Awards.

These environmental studies can help you get a green job in Canada

8) Ecocities Now: BCIT co-authors new book to help cities meet their sustainability goals

Looking at what constitutes an ecologically healthy city, Ecocities Now presents ten of the best papers from the International Ecocity World Summit held in Vancouver in October 2019. A diverse range of content was contributed by the BCIT community. “Whether it is helping communities to rebuild in post-earthquake Nepal, finding nature-based solutions to urban pollution challenges, or demonstrating how people can achieve net-zero emissions lifestyles, BCIT has industry leaders committed to delivering applied education and research that builds a better future for everyone,” says Dr. Jennie Moore, BCIT Director of Institute Sustainability, “Their contributions demonstrate the range of talent and scope of reach that BCIT offers for communities in BC and beyond.”

9) BCIT introduces microcredentials, including the Essentials of Natural Resource and Environmental Protection (MENREP) program

Microcredentials are flexible, short-term programs that help learners quickly master new competencies and gain knowledge essential to in-demand Canadian industries. The MENREP program is delivered completely online. This microcredential was jointly developed with Vancouver Island University (VIU) to support learners in understanding the importance of natural resources to British Columbia and potential career pathways in the field. In this program learners will gain familiarity with field techniques, tools, maps and data being used, and understand how climate change intersects with BC’s natural resources.

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