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Becoming a Golden Hawk means more than just cheering on our (really good) varsity teams – it means being a student who cares about your community, who works hard in the classroom, and who takes advantage of all the learning opportunities that can happen outside the classroom, too.

Feb. 14, 2018

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Tyler Plante, outreach and program coordinator of Wilfrid Laurier University's Sustainability Office, is very proud to work for and support the most sustainable campus in Ontario (and third most in Canada!).

"Laurier is a university where the people - from students to staff and faculty to administration - live out their values," says Plante. "We don't just talk about making changes. We take action."

Corporate Knights, a magazine that promotes "clean capitalism" noted Laurier's sustainability accomplishments in its Greenest Campuses in Canada index. The November 2017 ranking was just the last in a long list of awards given to Laurier for outstanding work in environmental protection and sustainability.

With support ranging from Laurier's senior administration to the first-year student who wants to get involved, Plante says it's easy to stay inspired in his role.

"Laurier is all about passionate students who want to give back," he says. "You can feel it on campus. The students, faculty and staff are willing to look at their own behaviour and make changes that will make a difference."

Plante is personally passionate about giving as well. He's a donor to each Hawkstarter campaign led by the Sustainability Office, including: Laurier Hawk Honey, which assists in increasing the number of hives for Laurier's own apiary while providing experiential learning for students; and Planting a Laurier Forest, which reached its fundraising goal in 2017 and is now in the process of planting 125 trees in the Waterloo community.

Plante is also a donor to Laurier's Community Campaign thanks to his support of the Something Golden Award. This award is primarily funded through the Sustainability Office's Something Golden program, which collects and resells household items left behind in residence upon move out. The purpose of this donation is to encourage and support students who are actively involved in sustainability initiatives. Eligible candidates are full time students in year two, three or four who demonstrate financial need and have an active interest in sustainability. This involvement can be shown thought volunteer work on campus or in the Laurier community.

"When students get involved in any of the sustainability efforts on campus, they are not only contributing to the health of the planet, they are aligning their values with their actions," says Plante. "That kind of personal commitment helps to change social norms."

For Plante, being an active model of social engagement and generosity is an important way to make change.

"People will get on board with an initiative when they see others taking part," he says. "That's why every person has the potential to make an exponential difference."

For those interested in becoming part of the change to protect our environment, Plante offers a few simple ideas to get started:

  • Check out the latest newsletter from the Sustainability Office, packed with ideas, events and volunteer opportunities.
  • Sign up to be part of the World Wildlife Fund new campus project. Laurier was chosen from a half-dozen universities across Canada to help build the new Living Planet @ Campus program.
  • Take advantage of alternative transportation with Travel Buddies, Bikeshare, Carshare or an unlimited bus pass.
  • Sort your waste. With bins everywhere, complete with pictures, there's no reason not to drop that coffee cup in the right container. (Which will be in the Mixed material section, by the way.)
  • Eat less meat and eat local when you can.
  • Take a sustainability course.
  • Like bees? Join the apiary program. Like gardening? Join the Community Gardens. There are a variety of opportunities to get involved and become part of the change at Laurier. Chances are there will be something that fits people's interests that will make a difference. To find out more, connect with Plante at

To find out more about supporting Laurier, please visit

To learn more about Laurier's sustainability projects, connect with Plante at the Sustainability Office, 519.884.0710 x4192 or email


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