Red Deer Polytechnic signs Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Accord
Red Deer Polytechnic has signed the United Nations SDG Accord, demonstrating its commitment to inspire, to celebrate and to advance the important role that education has in achieving sustainable development goals. The United Nations SDG Accord provides a framework where post-secondary institutions can collaborate and report on their contributions to sustainable development around the world.
The 17 goals include the responsible use of resources, equality, sustainable economic growth, and commitment to innovation.
“The signing of the SDG Accord is a meaningful day in the history of Red Deer Polytechnic. It is our way of demonstrating our commitment and contribution to their achievement and allows us to highlight the ways that we are making a difference toward global sustainability,” says Stuart Cullum, President of Red Deer Polytechnic. “As a polytechnic institution, we are dedicated to supporting the work of our industries and communities, through our education, training and applied research programming as well as how we develop and operate our campus and serve our community of faculty and staff”.
While the Polytechnic is a leader among post-secondary institutions in environmental sustainability, it values all the goals. Red Deer Polytechnic’s International Education department and Indigenous Initiatives department are active in the Polytechnic community and help to support its diverse population of learners through a variety of initiatives and services. The Polytechnic also distributes more than $1 million in scholarships and bursaries annually, helping to reduce barriers for students to obtain a post-secondary education.
“Learners are choosing to attend post-secondary institutions that represent their values. By signing the SDG Accord, Red Deer Polytechnic is demonstrating its leadership and commitment to sustainability, which is an important aspect of a post-secondary model for students,” says Richard Longtin, Vice President of External Relations. “The Polytechnic’s collaborations and actions toward sustainability will inspire and empower learners to contribute to their communities, which will have a ripple effect across the country and around the globe. Increasing partnerships for Red Deer Polytechnic will also open up more learning opportunities for students while addressing the multidimensional aspects of sustainability.”
With a wholistic approach to sustainability, Red Deer Polytechnic embraces its collaborations as ways to spark innovation, to grow the economy and to expand academic opportunities.
“With the Polytechnic’s Centre for Innovation in Manufacturing, we are a part of a network of Technology Access Centres that help entrepreneurs and small-to-medium sized businesses bring innovative ideas to life, which align with the SDG Accord,” says Cullum. “Applied research in the Energy Innovation Centre and Alternative Energy Lab supports the diversification of Alberta’s economy, while providing valuable learning opportunities for students.”
Red Deer Polytechnic has several facilities on campus that have been recognized in Canada and around the world for sustainability. The Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre, Alternative Energy Lab and Four Centres are Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified, which is globally recognized. The Polytechnic’s Studio Residences – where the signing of the SDG Accord took place – was named a Clean50 Top Project for 2022 (https://clean50.com) for contributions to a sustainable low-carbon Canadian economy.
These facilities play integral roles in the Polytechnic’s Green Campus Master Plan which includes six sustainability pillars: emissions reductions, energy generation, energy storage, waste reduction, energy efficiency and educational opportunities.
“At the Polytechnic, we have progressively evolved our efforts to reduce energy consumption and costs, while increasing our on-campus renewable energy generation,” says Jim Brinkhurst, Vice President of Finance & Administration and CFO. “Along with 4,200 solar panels, a combined heat and power unit, rainwater recapture, and upgrades to LED lights on campus, Red Deer Polytechnic will continue to explore ways to fulfill our vision of becoming a net zero institution by 2031.”
A net zero energy institution is one that produces all of the required electricity on site.
As a leader and representative of Red Deer Polytechnic learners, Savannah Snow, Students’ Association President, embraces the institution’s commitment to sustainability.
“The Students’ Association of Red Deer Polytechnic is thrilled to be a part of the United Nations SDG Accord,” she says. “The work that Red Deer Polytechnic does to promote sustainability is immense, and we are happy to be part of a larger movement to become fully sustainable campuses.”
Colleges and Institutes Canada (CICan), of which Red Deer Polytechnic is a member, is part of the Endorsing Partner Network, committing to these goals.
“The SDG Accord is an opportunity to mark the global leadership of Canada’s colleges and institutes in sustainability,” says Denise Amyot, President and CEO, CICan. “Not only does it help us maximize the impact of our efforts and share knowledge, it’s also a tool to inspire more post-secondary leaders to contribute to positive change for people, communities, and the planet. Congratulations Red Deer Polytechnic on taking this important step.”
Red Deer Polytechnic is pleased to join 34 other Canadian post-secondary signatories to the SDG Accord.
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Photo (l-r): Jim Brinkhurst, Vice President of Finance & Administration and CFO, Savannah Snow, Students' Association President, Stuart Cullum, President of Red Deer Polytechnic
For media inquiries, contact:
brent [dot] forster [at] rdpolytech [dot] ca (Brent Forster)
Communications Strategist – Corporate
Red Deer Polytechnic