Antigonish, Nova Scotia, Canada

Simple steps to a greener X: StFX launches sustainability campaign, shares recent success

March 1st, 2017
StFX President Dr. Kent MacDonald speaks with those gathered at the StFX Sustainability launch.

The steps to becoming a greener campus can be as simple as shifting your computer screen settings to 50 per cent or turning out lights when you’re not in the room. Small changes can have big impacts.

That was one of the messages shared on March 1 as the campus community gathered, many with reusable coffee mugs in hand, to launch StFX Sustainability, a new university-wide campaign that’s boosting StFX’s commitment to build an environmentally-friendly campus community.

The launch, held in the foyer of the Physical Sciences Centre, also included the sharing of good news in StFX’s efforts to reduce its environmental footprint.

StFX Vice President, Finance and Administration Andrew Beckett told those gathered that from 2008-16, StFX has reduced energy use intensity (the amount of energy used when adjusted for outside temperature) across campus by 27.5 per cent.

In that same period, greenhouse gas emissions were reduced by almost 22 per cent. “That’s equivalent to 1,500 mid-size vehicles off the road,” he said.

“We’re well on our way in terms of contributing."

But there is more to do, he said. StFX is currently replacing a number of mechanical, operational and lighting systems on campus, a $12 million investment over 18 months that is expected to result in more than $800,000 of energy savings each year and is anticipated to reduce StFX’s energy consumption by a further 20 per cent.

As well, all new buildings, including the construction of Mulroney Hall, and renovation projects will continue to be designed with the highest environmental standards in mind.

Mr. Beckett also used the launch to reinforce the message that individual users can have an impact.

“The key message is that individuals can all make a difference. Everyone can get involved. We can play our own small part.”

“We can cut our energy by 10-15 per cent.”

“It is up to all of us to figure out a way to have an impact,” StFX President Dr. Kent MacDonald reiterated.

“Speaking of where we’re going in the future, it’s also good to remind ourselves this is a university that has done good things in this space,” Dr. MacDonald said.

Both he and Mr. Beckett talked about the many active students on campus promoting sustainability practices, the faculty members, particularly from the Department of Earth Sciences, who contribute from a research and teaching point of view, and dedicated staff, including those from Facilities Management, who are working to make the campus more sustainable.  

Mikaela Henderson, president of the Environmental Society, spoke about prior work that has been done, including the installation of solar panels in Bloomfield Centre and plans for more solar panels on campus.

“We’re thrilled to be involved in some of the great things the university is doing in sustainability,” she said.

She also encouraged everyone to think about why they’re here at the launch and what sustainability means to them.

The launch kicked off a five-week campaign that will help make sustainability more visible on campus.

Several exciting events are planned, including members of the Environmental Society who will be circulating information and be involved in special events. There will also be a photo contest, social media promotions, and Facilities Management will have student sustainability officers available to do quick office energy audits.

As part of this work, Mr. Beckett said the university is reforming its campus sustainability committee, and faculty, staff and students interested in becoming involved are encouraged to get in touch. The university has also created an email account, to receive feedback.

To see more on sustainability efforts, please see:


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