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Dal DNA: Sustainability

For over 40 years, through progressive policies, programs and day-to-day changes in behaviour, Dal faculty, staff and students have been evolving and improving our culture of sustainability.

1971  The Ecology Action Centre (EAC) is born from a Dalhousie course called Living Ecology. EAC now focuses on seven action areas ranging from transportation to food.

1973  Biologist F. Ronald Hayes forms the Institute for Environmental Studies, which in 1986 becomes the School for Resource and Environmental Studies, as it’s known today.

1991  Representatives of 33 universities from 10 countries meet with business, government and NGO leaders in Halifax to discuss the role of universities regarding the environment and development. The Halifax Declaration, which expresses dismay about widespread unsustainable environmental practices, is released at the conference’s conclusion.

1999  Dalhousie signs the Talloires Declaration, a ten-point action plan for incorporating sustainability and environmental literacy in teaching, research, operations and outreach at colleges and universities.

2003  Dalhousie Food Services removes polystyrene foam containers from all residence dining halls and retail locations. Since then, Food Services has introduced many sustainable programs, most recently, committing to purchasing local and sustainable seafood (Dal was the second university in Canada to receive Marine Stewardship Council Chain of Custody certification).

2003  The Faculty of Science launches the Environmental Science program.

2005  The Faculty of Agriculture establishes the “Agricultural Sustainability” project with Jimma University in Ethiopia. The relationship continues through a federally funded, $18-million, Dalhousie-led project in Ethiopia.

2007  Due to demand from Dalhousie students, the Dalhousie Student Union Sustainability Office (DSUSO) is created to foster a culture of sustainable practices within DSU operations and across the university.

2007  A team of forward-looking professors from diverse disciplines found the College of Sustainability, and the Environment, Sustainability and Society program, the only program of its kind in Canada and one of only two in North America.

2008  Dalhousie’s Office of Sustainability opens. The mission of the office is to create campus solutions that support positive ecological, social health, and economic outcomes, with a focus on individual and organizational change and physical system upgrades.

2008  The newly founded College of Sustainability launches the Environment, Sustainability & Society major, the first program of its kind in Canada. In 2009,UNESCO recognizes it as an example of Good Practice in Education for Sustainable Development.

2010  The Dalhousie University Climate Change Plan commits to the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2020. Dal is currently on track to meeting the goal of a 20% reduction by 2016.

2010  The DREAMS (Dalhousie Research in Energy, Advanced Materials and Sustainability) project is created by researchers associated with the Dalhousie Institute for Research and Materials to provide an interdisciplinary opportunity for students to work alongside faculty on sustainability-focused projects.

2012  Dalhousie’s Mona Campbell building becomes the first university building in Atlantic Canada to become LEED* Gold certified.

2013  Dalhousie passes a policy to reduce the university’s paper use, reduce the number of single-use printing devices on campus and move to 100% post-consumer for the university’s base paper.

2015  Dalhousie receives a GOLD rating from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education for Dal’s sustainability performance.