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Ontario Tech celebrates renewed international accolade for environmental commitment

University retains its Gold rating in the North American 2023 Sustainable Campus Index

Tree-planting community event for alumni, staff and students at Ontario Tech University's Windfields Farm property (May 2023).
Tree-planting community event for alumni, staff and students at Ontario Tech University's Windfields Farm property (May 2023).

As Ontario Tech University continues to mark its 20th anniversary and observes its designated Sustainability Month in March, the university is once again winning high praise for its sustainability-focused campus practices.

Ontario Tech’s substantial commitment to sustainability is highlighted in the latest North American summary prepared by the Philadelphia-based Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE). Ontario Tech has again earned a Gold rating in AASHE’s Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System (STARS) for 2023. The achievement continues a strong sustainability legacy for the university: it also received a Gold rating in 2019 and 2021.

The AASHE Sustainable Campus Index includes innovative and high-impact institutional highlights, and recognizes institutions with exceptional report accuracy and quality. STARS is a voluntary framework used by universities and colleges to measure, report and strengthen their contributions to sustainability. The index recognizes top-performing North American universities and colleges in five key categories: academics; engagement; planning and administration; operations; and innovation and leadership.

Ontario Tech’s Office of Campus Infrastructure and Sustainability (OCIS) manages the university’s extensive efforts in campuswide environmental responsibility. OCIS oversees a wide range of categories, including energy consumption, water usage, waste management, recycling, transportation and more.

Key achievements cited in the latest Ontario Tech STARS report   
  • Fair Trade Campus designation
  • Indoor air quality study
  • Sustainable purchasing choices
  • Sustainability culture, public engagement on campus, and community outreach
  • Support for sustainability research

Sustainability campus features have been a part of the Ontario Tech story since it opened its doors in 2003. One major example is the extensive thermal borehole system hidden beneath Polonsky Commons that ensures heating/cooling energy efficiency in campus buildings. Meantime, water consumption is managed through stormwater and greywater collection, helping the university conserve 32 million litres of water annually.

In recent years, Ontario Tech has expanded the number of academic courses that involve sustainability topics. In 2022, the university completed installation of a massive solar wall that has the campus on track to halve its greenhouse gas emissions earlier than its 2030 goal. It’s also expanded electric vehicle (EV) charging capacity, including a new EV fleet charger at Charles Hall at the university’s downtown Oshawa location. This June, the Faculty of Health Sciences’ PACE Mobility Group will host a June workshop on data-driven decisions that encourage healthy, active transportation strategies in urban spaces.  

Ontario Tech’s Sustainability Month activities during March  

To continue advancing environmental practices on campus, OCIS Sustainability Month in March includes events such as:

  • Panel on biodiversity and the threat of alien species.
  • Climate Symposium for students to connect with local environmental organizations and find sustainability career pathways.
  • Sustainability Fest in collaboration with student organizations featuring a Repair Café and e-waste recycling booth.
  • Lunch and Learn on how every job can be a climate job.

To learn more about these events and keep up to date with sustainability initiatives on campus, visit the Ontario Tech Sustainability Office website and follow the office’s Instagram page (@OT_sustain).


“The university’s latest submission to STARS truly allows Ontario Tech to visualize all of the progress it has made toward being a climate-resilient campus. Sustainability doesn't just come from one section of the university. It is a collective and conscientious commitment by individuals, departments and faculties across campus. We can all be very proud of our STARS Gold rating, which recognizes Ontario Tech University as being among North America’s post-secondary leaders in environmental responsibility.”
-Isabel Savransky, Asset and Sustainability Planner, Office of Campus Infrastructure and Sustainability, Ontario Tech University


Media contact
Bryan Oliver
Communications and Marketing
Ontario Tech University
289.928.3653 (mobile)