London, ON – On March 22, 2021, the United Nations designated “World Water Day”, Brescia University College renews its dedication to environmental sustainability through a commitment to recognizing access to water as a basic human right and by banning water bottle sales on campus as of September 2021. In recognition of this initiative, Brescia has been awarded Blue Community certification, and becomes the first university in Ontario, and only the second university in Canada to receive this designation.
The Blue Communities Project was established in 2009 by the Council of Canadians, the Blue Planet Project and the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE). It is designed to bring cities, schools, religious communities and faith-based groups together to adopt the principles that treat water as a common good that is shared by everyone and is the responsibility of all. Since its inception, the Blue Communities movement has grown internationally with Paris, France, Bern, Switzerland and other municipalities around the world going “blue” and officially being declared a Blue Community by the UN.
“The preservation and respect of the environment and our natural space has been paramount at Brescia since our establishment by the Ursuline Sisters in 1919,” affirms Brescia’s Interim Principal, Cheryl Jensen. “Today, we are proud to honour our Ursuline legacy, and help support a greener and safer world for our students and future generations of leaders, by taking this important step in banning the sale of bottled water from our campus.”
During the course of an average academic year, Brescia’s community consumes and recycles approximately 20,000 plastic water bottles. When observing this statistic, and understanding that plastic water bottles take 400 years to degrade, the University recognized it had a responsibility to help lead in the efforts to protect our water sources as an educational intuition and encourage others to follow suit. As of September 1, 2021, the University will not sell any bottled water on campus.
Maude Barlow, former Chairperson of the Council of Canadians, activist and Chancellor of Brescia University College is thrilled to see the University “go blue,” saying, “As Chancellor of Brescia, I am enormously proud of the decision for our university to become a Blue Community. We are increasingly aware that the planet is running out of freshwater supplies and that billions live without clean drinking water and sanitation every day. By taking this step, Brescia is showing leadership in the protection of water here in Canada and the promotion of the human right to water everywhere. We at Brescia are encouraging other post-secondary institutions to join us in and take the pledge to become a Blue Community.”
Maude Barlow will join the Brescia community in Fall 2021 for a formal Blue Community celebration, where she will bestow Brescia with an official Blue Community certificate.
The ban in bottled water sales is just one of the many tactics the University has employed to reduce their environmental footprint. In September 2018, Brescia removed all plastic straws from campus and in January 2017, Brescia launched the Brescia Eco-container Exchange (B.E.E.) Take-out Container Program. Designed to limit the waste of single-use food containers, the B.E.E. Program encouraged members of the community to purchase eco-friendly containers, which could be returned, cleaned and reused through Brescia Food Services.
To learn more about Brescia’s designation as a Blue Community and how you can get involved, visit: https://brescia.uwo.ca/about/initiatives/blue_community.php or visit: https://canadians.org/bluecommunities. You can also join the conversation on social media, by following the hashtag #BresciaGoesBlue.
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About Brescia University College
Brescia University College, Canada’s women’s university college, is affiliated with Western University. The 1,600 women registered as either full- or part-time students at Brescia study a wide variety of subjects in the Schools of Behavioural & Social Sciences, Food & Nutritional Sciences, Humanities, and Leadership & Social Change in an empowering, compassionate, student-centred and invigorating environment. Degrees are granted by Western. As a Catholic University College, Brescia welcomes students from all backgrounds and values diversity. For more current and archived news, a listing of faculty experts, and photos please visit our Online Media Room, at brescia.uwo.ca/communications/media_relations.