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Canadian Universities and Sustainability ranked by Corporate Knights Magazine

Wednesday, July 2nd 2008 9:05:24am

Canadian Universities and Sustainability ranked by Corporate Knights Magazine

(Toronto, Canada, July 2, 2008)  Today, Corporate Knights Magazine unveils the fifth-annual Knight Schools ranking. The ranking analyzes how Canadian universities fare in integrating sustainability into the school experience.  

In reviewing Architecture and Urban Planning programs, the researchers adopted a broad definition of sustainability that encompassed environmental and social concerns. Issues of ecology, professional ethics, climate change, Third World development and human rights were considered.

The surveys, modelled after the US-based Beyond Grey Pinstripes survey, scored the programs in the areas of institutional support, student initiatives, and course work.

This year marks Corporate Knights’ first evaluation of Architecture and Urban Planning programs. As students learn to construct and chart the places we live, it is vital for them to be exposed to sustainable design practices. The highest ranking school for both programs was the University of Waterloo. The university had an impressive amount of core courses that focused on sustainability. The degree requirements ensured that all architecture students were exposed to environmental topics such as LEED evaluation and environmental building design. Urban Planning students were exposed to people-based planning, ecology, and the community based issues.

Of the 10 architecture schools surveyed, almost all – nine – had at least one core course entirely dedicated to sustainability. Of the eight urban planning schools, seven had at least one core course entirely dedicated to sustainability.

Many students interviewed were conscious of their function in society and expressed an interest in challenging these roles in order to bring about broader change. Students were among the greatest critics and proponents of sustainability on campus.

“We noticed a lot of changes in how schools are treating sustainability,” says Monika Warzecha, Chief Researcher of the Knight Schools ranking. “New programs are springing up in many different fields. Students are demanding these courses and starting their own projects outside the classroom.”

The full results and methodology of the Ranking are available at http://www.corporateknights.ca/special-reports/68-knight-school-guide.html and are summarized in the Best 50/Eduction issue (Vol. 7.1) of Corporate Knights, distributed in the Globe and Mail on June 30 in Eastern Canada and July 7 in Western Canada.

Corporate Knights received support from Industry Canada in conducting the Architecture and Urban Planning surveys. A full report was prepared which is available to media only by emailing info@corporateknights.ca.

(out of 10 schools)
1. University of Waterloo: 45.9%                
2. University of Toronto: 40.8%              
3. Ryerson University: 34.6%                                
4. McGill University: 33.7%
5. University of Guelph: 32.9%  

Urban Planning
(out of 8 schools)
1. University of Waterloo: 80.2%
2. York University: 70.6%
3. Dalhousie University: 62.9%
4. Ryerson University: 48.1%
5. Université du Québec à Montréal: 30.9%


To schedule interviews contact: Jonathan Laderoute, e|c|o, 416-972-7401, laderoutej(a)huffstrategy.com

Founded in 2002, Corporate Knights Inc. is an independent Canadian-based media company focused on promoting and reinforcing sustainable development in Canada.