Sustainability is widely accepted to consist of environmental, social and economic principles. More specifically, it means the survival and resiliency of humans and the natural environment, which, in turn, depends on long-term ecological balance.
In 2009, Dalhousie University signed the Canadian College and University Climate Statement of Action for Canada, which commits the university to significantly reduce its greenhouse gas emissions. Dalhousie students, faculty and staff, as well as the community and other partners, have been implementing and engaging in campus sustainability initiatives on an ad hoc basis for many years. DSUSO was launched in 2007 due to demand from Dalhousie students.
The Dalhousie Student Union (DSU) recognizes that striving for sustainability involves reducing the ecological and carbon footprint of the Union. Furthermore, the DSU recognizes the need to move beyond an ad hoc application of sustainable principles.The DSU shall:
- Implement sustainable practices as a part of everyday operations by minimizing the use and consumption of energy, water and material resources in recognition of the limited capacity of the biosphere to accommodate human activities;
- Encourage innovative leadership that institutionalizes continual improvements in sustainable practices, operations and procedures on and off campus;
- Collaborate internally and externally via the DSUSO to (i) promote sustainability partnerships on campus, (ii) raise awareness and increase dialogue between members and groups in the campus community, and (iii) promote connections related to sustainability stewardship with the larger community;
- Communicate with students about current and future initiatives, progress, issues and opportunities;
- Foster awareness, nurture participation and involvement;
- Begin building credibility and enhance the exchange of information about sustainable practices through initiatives, workshops, events and other ways that students can engage in learning about sustainable lifestyles;
- Adopt an approach to decision-making that incorporates consideration of financial, social and environmental sustainability;
- Lobby the university and various levels of government in support of student sustainability initiatives, events and policies.
- The Dalhousie Student Union Sustainability Office (DSUSO) strives to create a culture of sustainability within DSU Operations and at Dalhousie University.
- Improve our university community by making the DSU an ecologically aware, economically responsible, socially equitable institution.
- Encourage communication within the Dalhousie student community, as well as groups and initiatives in the larger Halifax community
- To implement and fund student-run sustainability initiatives on campus
- To challenge oppressive behaviours in our community.
- To inspire behavioral change that reflects sustainable practices.
- Engage with key decision-making bodies within the DSU and university to promote social and environmental responsibility and accountability.