What is STARS?
The Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS) is a transparent, self-reporting framework for colleges and universities to measure their sustainability performance.
- Penticton Campus Community Habitat Memorial Garden: this is jointly maintained garden that is located on the southwest corner of the Duncan Avenue campus. The theme of the garden is all natural plants that are individually marked and there is a leaflet that is jointly produced by the college and the garden society. Maintenance of the garden is done by both the College and the Garden Society. The College maintains the water system and the society does the clean-up. Examples of the plantings are to be used in the roof gardens on the Centre of Excellence.
- The College is a partner with the South Okanagan–Similkameen Conservation Society – this group is particularly dedicated to the species at risk in the South Okanagan Similkameen. Recently we provided office space and in kind support for the organization as well as being a partner. We are now a partner and provide in kind support in waiving booking fees and some of our staff attend meetings and provide technical expertise.
- Clean the Creek, Kelowna Campus. The College adopted Fashieux Creek in 2008 which runs along the west border of the campus in Kelowna. The Campus pulls together teams of students, staff and community to clean the Creek 3-4 times a year. Since it adoption noxious weeds and garbage have been removed by and in the Creek. As a result ducks, turtles, muskrat(s) and fish have returned to the Creek. In 2009 the College Campus was awarded by the City of Kelowna the most dedicated community group for this clean-up project.
- The institution also collaborates with other colleges and universities, having established a four-college sustainability coalition with Durham College, Lethbridge Community College and Nova Scotia Community College. Okanagan College also works closely with the En’owkin Centre, a First Nations cultural centre and post-secondary institution, to develop curriculum for land and resource management diploma.
- Penticton Habitat Garden features indigenous species of the South Okanagan. The centrepiece of the Duncan Avenue entrance to campus is maintained by staff volunteers.
- Nancy Clark Garden in Salmon Arm is nestled in the courtyard beside a pond that remains open year-round due to an underground spring
- Vernon campus overlooks coulees that traverse into Kalamalka Lake. The Ellison bench is dotted with arrowleaf ferns, rye grass, common snowberries and Oregon grape.
- The Kelowna campus feature dogwood trees, barberry, juniper bushes, yarrow, creeping thyme and sedge grass.
- Printing: Okanagan College uses print management software to monitor, track and charge for copying on campus. Learn about Pay Per Print.
- Reuse of goods. The College works with other agencies to find opportunities to donate goods: hospital beds to organizations in Africa, furniture to the Salvation Arm, and surplus equipment to local churches and other institutions. We also hold periodic garage sales to raise funds for bursaries.
- E-waste has been recycled since 2003. All e-waste is colelcted from departments, then shipped to a smelting operating in Trail, where precious metals are recovered and emissiosn are cleaned through scrubber before being exhausted to the atmosphere.
- Battery boxes can be found in the libraries of all four campuses, and accept standard batteries weighing less than five kilograms. Complete cellphones with batteries are also accepted.
- Composting bins are provided for students and staff in each kitchen. At the end of the day contents are emptied into bins provided outside of the cafeteria building. Pick-up and replacement of compost containers is facilitated through our Department of Facilities Management. We have a pilot program on our Salmon Arm Campus to handle post-consumer waste, with weekly pick-up of all food waste and used paper towels. Two more elements removed from mainstream garbage destined for landfill. We are also presently working on expanding this service to the Vernon Campus.
- Napkins, both table and take-out are made from 100% recycled material and are Certified EcoLogo.
- Incentives. Campus dining operations offers discounts to customers who use reusable mugs instead of disposable cups in to-go food service operations. Our cafeteria offers one flat fee for coffee in a reusable mug regardless of size. Coffee prices range from $1.25 to $3.25. The price for a reusable mug is $1.50
- Eco Take Out Reusable Container program also exists. The containers are reusable, microwave safe, dishwasher safe, good for 1,000 washes and can be recycled (#5 on the recycle chart). We currently offer other types of take out containers which are 100% compostable.
Several water fountains – some on each campus – have been retrofitted with "bottle fillers" to make refilling reusable water bottles a breeze. An ongoing retrofit program will continue to identify and replace fountains wherever possible. The Centre for Learning in Kelowna uses only low-flow faucets, showers and toilets, as well as waterless urinals. The Centre for Excellence in Penticton has been fitted with low-flow fixtures as well. When required, all shower heads, faucets and water-closets are being replaced with low flow models.
For information about Okanagan College's STARS rating, contact Rob St. Onge, Sustainability Manager, at 250-762-5445, ext. 4876 or send an email.