Living Campus is the embodiment of Dawson College’s commitment to the improvement of society and exists with three goals. First, to act as a socially and ecologically responsible agent through the identification and management of sustainability performance indicators. Second, to reconnect people, community, and nature through the development of nature-based action projects that involve real-world ecological problem-solving, increase biodiversity in an urban setting, and cultivate collaboration. Third, Living Campus aims to advance the understanding and teaching of sustainability by building local and international learning communities that foster collaboration and exchange of best practices.
These goals and objectives are achieved through Living Campus’ numerous projects:
- Biodiversity Zones: Nine micro-habitats are planned, with three currently established, where students can study natural areas and urban wildlife on campus.
- Carbon Neutral commitment: The college continues to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions and will offset the remainder of its carbon footprint by planting over 5000 trees on marginal land in Nicaragua.
- Peace Symposium: Practical peace, sustainability, First Peoples philosophy and the concept of sustainable happiness will be experienced by international guests interested in a new pedagogy for a vision of well-being for all.
- Sustainability Certificate: A new certificate program linking participation in Living Campus projects with interdisciplinary learning.
- Sustainable Happiness: Where psychology, health and sustainability meet. Dawson College hosted the world’s first sustainable happiness certificate program in 2014 and 2015 with participants from Mexico and Canada representing many professions.
- Urban Nature Interpretation: Youth from local organizations and day camps are invited to Dawson to experience Nature Canada’s Naturehood program.
- Dawson Monarch Nursery Project: Several hundred monarch butterfly caterpillars are adopted by teachers and departments and reared until they emerge from their chrysalises.
- Sustainable Campuses: A North/South Partnership – The goal of this participatory research project is to create a process of knowledge generation and sharing among three Mexican universities and Dawson College.
- Urban Agriculture: Several rooftop gardens have been established that grow vegetables in self-watering containers or raised beds. Student volunteers maintain the gardens.
- Honey Bees: Several bee colonies are kept on Dawson’s rooftops and the honey extracted by students in the fall.