October 13, 2016

Belleville, Ontario, October 13, 2016 – Ontario’s colleges are playing a leading role in Canada’s efforts to tackle climate change, says a newly released report.

The report, Moving to Net Zero: Colleges Leading the Way, highlights the 24 colleges’ achievements in everything from leading-edge research that promotes energy efficiency to the development of programs that prepare increasing numbers of graduates for careers in areas such as renewable energy and sustainable building construction.

“Doing our part to improve the health of the planet is a priority,” said Dianne Spencer, Interim President, Loyalist College. “At Loyalist, we are firmly committed to the global effort to fight climate change.”

The report documents achievements in five areas: research, community leadership, college programs, transportation and campus upgrades. The examples in the report confirm that all 24 colleges are playing an active part in the effort to reduce the province’s carbon footprint. For example, it highlights Loyalist College’s new carpooling program, which encourages students and staff to travel together to reduce carbon emissions. Each day, the first 24 carpool groups (vehicles with two or more people) who register with the front gate are granted one-day free designated parking privileges.

Last year, Loyalist completed the STARS (Sustainability, Tracking, Assessment & Rating System) program – a voluntary assessment for higher education institutions. The result: A Bronze rating for the College’s sustainability performance and recommendations for improvements, which are being led by Loyalist’s Sustainability Coordinator and Committee. During the last several years, the College has reduced its carbon footprint through policies and projects, such as Residence composting, LED lighting upgrades, building automation system efficiencies, light and faucet motion sensors, and most recently, centralized waste stations for increased recycling.

With the Strategic Investment Fund announced October 11, the third floor of the College’s Kente Building Northumberland Wing will be updated with more efficient heating, cooling and electrical systems.  As the foundation for Loyalist’s Lifelong Health and Wellness Centre, which was conceptualized in the College’s Strategic Plan for 2015-2020, the renovated space will facilitate health and human studies research, innovation and training. To educate students on the importance of addressing climate change, sustainability themes are integrated in the curriculum of more than 150 courses across various disciplines. For example, Welding and Fabrication Technician students recently designed and produced 10 bike corrals in the LEED® Silver certified Bay of Quinte Skills Centre on campus. Purchased by the City of Belleville and local businesses, the bike corrals encourage cycling and sustainable transportation throughout the Bay of Quinte region.

The findings in the report include:

  • Throughout the province, colleges offer more than 300 programs that prepare graduates to work in sectors that directly impact emissions reductions, conservation and renewable energy.
  • In 2015-16, more than 20,000 students were enrolled in programs that prepare them for careers that address climate change. That represents an increase of more than 20 percent over the past five years.
  • Millions of dollars have been invested in retrofit programs and other upgrades at campuses across the province. The retrofitting projects have included weatherization initiatives, energy and greenhouse gas audits, the installation of wind turbines and solar panels, and the integration of new designs that include green roofs and pollinator gardens.

“While we’re proud of our successes, we also know there is more to do,” said Mrs. Spencer. “We will continue to work to reduce emissions and to produce the workforce that Ontario needs to make the transition to a net-zero economy.”

The full report is available here.

About Loyalist College

We put you to work™. When it comes to grads getting jobs, 87.4 percent of the College’s most recent graduates found employment within six months of graduation compared to the provincial average of 83.6 percent, according to Provincial Key Performance Indicator (KPI) results released in April 2016. Located on more than 200 acres in the beautiful Bay of Quinte region, Loyalist College is a close-knit community where students and their success come first. Loyalist provides personalized attention in small classes, rewarding field placements and superior student services. To prepare students for in-demand careers, Loyalist offers more than 60 full-time programs; apprenticeships; and hundreds of online, distance and in-class courses, as well as opportunities for continuing education through more than 70 university transfer agreements. The College’s wide selection of advanced diplomas, diplomas and certificates aligns with market-driven disciplines including applied sciences, biosciences, building sciences, business and management studies, health sciences, human studies, justice studies, media, arts and design, and skills and technology. In Ontario, the College’s new Digital Media Centre and the LEED® Silver certified The Bay of Quinte Skills Centre are training centres of choice for students, as well as College business and industry partners. The College is a key driver of the social and economic health and prosperity of the area and contributes 5.4 percent to the Gross Regional Product. This represents an overall effect on the regional economy of $530 million – based on a 2014 Report by Economic Modeling Specialists International (EMSI). For more information on the College’s Belleville and Bancroft campuses, visit


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Contact:  Kerry Lorimer, Director of Marketing and Communications, Loyalist College,, (613) 969-1913, ext. 2536