BCIT has been recognized by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) as a top performer in the 2022 Sustainable Campus Index (SCI), tying for third with the University of California, Berkeley, in the category of Wellbeing and Work.
The Sustainable Campus Index highlights the most sustainable colleges and universities overall and in 17 impact areas, as measured by the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS). The SCI also highlights innovative and high-impact initiatives from colleges and universities that submitted a STARS report in the most recent calendar year.
BCIT received a STARS Silver rating in recognition of its sustainability achievements and earned a high score in the Wellbeing and Work category. Recipients recognized in the Wellbeing and Work category “bolster the strength of their community by promoting the wellbeing of the campus community”. BCIT offers diverse wellness programs and resources to support the health and wellbeing of staff and students. The following programs are a few examples of available resources to support the wellbeing of BCIT staff and students:
- BCIT adopted the Eight Dimensions of Wellbeing Model. This model defines wellbeing as a dynamic state in which a person in their environment has the opportunity to balance intellectual, occupational, physical, financial, psychological, environmental, spiritual, and social needs to thrive and realize their goals. This model highlights the multi-faceted nature of well-being and the many ways in which student well-being can contribute to an optimal learning environment for students. The BCIT Student Wellbeing and Resilience Framework outlines strategies to promote and support students’ success, well-being, and resilience.
- Early Assist is a confidential online platform that provides employees and students an opportunity to identify students who may be struggling personally or academically. As well, it provides an opportunity to offer students appropriate support and services at an early stage. The earlier a student gets connected with appropriate supports, the better chance they have to improve their performance and wellbeing.
- A robust employee wellness program, Wellness Works, is designed to encourage employees to prioritize their own health by maintaining a healthy and balanced lifestyle. Wellness Works promotes a culture of wellness and resilience throughout our community by providing our people with education, resources, and support to create and sustain the healthiest workplace possible, where employees can thrive.
Zero Energy/Emissions Buildings Learning Centre highlighted in SCI
On the sustainability front, the BCIT Zero Energy/Emissions Buildings Learning Centre (ZEBLC) was recognized by AASHE as an innovative and high-impact initiative. ZEBLC was launched in 2018 in support of the Province of British Columbia’s recent commitments to achieve net zero energy-ready buildings by 2032 through the BC Energy Step Code. The first of its kind in Canada, the ZEBLC was developed to provide hands-on training in zero energy buildings using an envelope-first approach. ZEBLC also launched an interactive Zero Energy Building exhibit in 2019 that visited various locations in Metropolitan Vancouver throughout 2022.
“Congratulations to the British Columbia Institute of Technology for their incredible sustainability accomplishments,” said AASHE’s Executive Director Meghan Fay Zahniser. “Upon reading the innovative and high-impact initiatives within this report, I’m encouraged that the global sustainability transformation that we desperately need is, in fact, happening.”
Next steps in advancing sustainability at BCIT
There are many opportunities to advance sustainability at BCIT and our goal is to achieve a Gold rating in 2024. To do so, we will track our progress against the baselines set in the 2021 report by identifying opportunities to advance sustainability and build a stronger, more diverse campus sustainability community. The Institute Sustainability team will be collaborating with colleagues across BCIT to ensure actions taken in the coming years are supportive of existing operational plans while bold enough to meet our longer-term sustainability and other strategic goals.
More information on BCIT’s commitment to the STARS Framework is available on the BCIT STARS website and the STARS report is publicly available on the STARS website.
The Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS) is a transparent, self-reporting framework for colleges and universities to measure their sustainability performance. STARS was developed by AASHE with broad participation from the higher education community. The credits included in STARS span the breadth of higher education sustainability and are organized into four categories: Academics, Engagement, Operations, and Planning & Administration. All reports are publicly accessible on the STARS website. For more information, visit stars.aashe.org.
AASHE empowers higher education faculty, staff and students to be effective change agents and drivers of sustainability innovation. AASHE enables members to translate information into action by offering essential resources and professional development to a diverse, engaged community of sustainability leaders. We work with and for higher education to ensure that our world’s future leaders are motivated and equipped to solve sustainability challenges. BCIT Employees can sign up for a free AASHE account to access the Campus Sustainability Hub and other resources. For more information, visit www.aashe.org.