Dawson College, Canada


Living Campus – Reconnecting people, community, and nature

Living Campus emphasizes positive relationships, cultivates action within a systems-thinking approach and emphasizes healthy living. At Dawson, we promote an inclusive learning and working environment in which all members of our community feel respected, valued, and supported in the pursuit of their personal and professional goals. We aim to promote long-term health and well-being for all, sustainably.

The Living Campus platform focuses on bold goals and bold action towards well-being for all and the greater purpose of education. We are attempting to define a flourishing institution where students have ample opportunities to express positive emotions, develop relationships and experience validation for their work that is directed towards a better world. The currency of youth is a sense of belonging, and our Living Campus platform that constantly works towards reconnecting people, community and nature is a central part of that belonging to a community. Here, they identify with who they are and contribute to creating a “good life” with lasting relationships that positively influence their future, that of others, and help other species. At Dawson, we believe all people and species have a right to a peaceful world.

Annual carbon savings achieved with the initiative:
CO2t savings 2020/2021: College largely closed due to COVID - No reliable data
CO2t savings 2021/2022: 25 metric tonnes (mt) from composting increase - Estimated
CO2t savings over the life cycle of the project: Scope 1: 783 mt (71% reduction from 1998 benchmark) - Actual
Scope 2+3: 343 mt (from 2008 benchmark) - Actual

* Overall tonnes of CO2 saved:  Scope 1, 2 & 3 – 3rd party verified (benchmark 2010) = 343 mt reduction in CO2. Entire building now only produces 323 mt scope 1 and in 2020 Dawson’s total CO2 emissions = 2,627 mt (Scope 1,2 & 3) and that amount was offset. We are now carbon neutral forever, as mandated by the Board of Directors.

What the Judges Thought

The Judging Panel was very impressed with the ambition, scale and outcomes of the Dawson College application. "Well-being for all" is more important than ever and this application provided a compelling narrative of why and how the Living Campus initiative had come to fruition.

The Judging Panel particularly welcomed the systems-thinking embedded in Dawson’s approach and congratulated the college on achieving carbon neutrality for scope 1, 2 and 3. This is an innovative and impressive application with demonstrable impact and significant opportunities for transferring to different settings. A worthy winner.

What it Means to Win

“The Green Gown Award is a validation of Dawson’s mission to educate our students through transformative and innovative learning activities that engage learners and empower them to become active, responsible citizens. We are enriching society by cultivating partnerships and contributing to a peaceful, sustainable future.”

Diane Gauvin, Director General

Top 3 Learnings

  1. Our Living Campus is a way of using education to empower people as agents of change.
  2. When hope is incubated with intent through authentic learning, it unleashes the best in us.
  3. Students and staff want to help others and their planet - so we let them.

3 - Good Health and Well-Being 13 - Climate Action 16 - Peace Justice and Strong Institutions 17 - Partnerships for the Goals
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