It’s a wrap!

After an amazing eight months, I am sad to say my co-op term with the Energy and Environment department has come to an end. My time here has been more than anything I could have imagined. It made me realize how important it is to not only be informed, but also educate the ones around you on what day to day steps can be taken to preserve the environment and reduce energy usage.

Over the course of 8 months, I spent a lot of time on a range of projects. The shut the sash/door initiative was a huge one! By ensuring fume hoods and freezer lab doors within PMCRT & KDT were being shut when not in use, we were able to encourage good energy saving behaviour. Labs were also incentivized by having the chance of winning monthly pizza lunches if they have 100% compliance! This program had a bit of growth in the past few months as now the externally facing lab doors are also being tracked as it not only saves energy, but ensures the labs are following safe lab protocol.

My most favourite part of this co-op would definitely be helping run the Earth Week booths at all the UHN sites for 2019. Earth week was a very fun and interactive time to help advocate and promote various changes in our day to day activities that can be implemented, both at home and at the UHN, geared toward reaching the goal of sustainability. Believe it or not, when you are taking the most sustainable pathway, it usually tends to be the decision that is most beneficial for the people, the planet and your finances! Earth week was an absolute blast as we were able to generate lots of buzz, interest and have a lot of good discussions. Many green team members stepped up and helped educate their colleagues about common misconceptions, what role they could take on to helping the environment & combating climate change, and anyone who interacted with the booth walked away with free seeds for their garden!

I also got the opportunity to educate various UHN staff on the new waste/recycling rules that have come to be as a result of a contract change! I enjoyed interacting with various department, whether it be research, in clinical units, or housekeeping, and getting them up to date on what’s going on! Feel free to test yourself on the rules using this interactive quiz – TGH and PMCRT Quiz or TWH, PMH, TRI Quiz – or you can reach out to if you would like us to come in and educate your staff on the changes through a quick presentation.

All good things come to an end, as such my co-op. I would like to give a huge shout out to my team. You guys are doing an amazing job at truly bringing planet centered care to the UHN, and I am so thankful to have worked with such a talented bunch. Special shout outs to Lisa for being an amazing mentor and changing my perspective on how I can also make a difference by playing my part in helping the planet. And that’s a wrap!

Celebrating Bike Month

HAPPY BIKE MONTH! May 27th marked the “bike to work day”, hope it was an enjoyable one! The 30th annual Bike to Work Day Group Commute & Pancake Breakfast in Toronto took place on the 27th. Bike riders met at Yonge and Charles bright and early and biked to Nathan Phillips Square, where they enjoyed breakfast!

On a global scale, approximately 100 million bicycles are made every single year. Bicycles are not only an excellent means of exercise, but they also help in encouraging sustainable transportation. They are emission free, and are one of the 24 ways that we outlined that can help in combating climate change!

UHN Bike Session held at PMCRT in 2017

Here at the UHN, we will be hosting two of our own events celebrating Bike Month as well.

Road Rules 101: Thursday, June 13th, 12 – 1

550 University Ave, Lecture Theatre

Ever had any questions about cyclist’s responsibilities and rights? Want to learn more about your rights as a cyclist? If so, come out to “Road Rules” session on June 13! During this session, you will learn about the rules, responsibilities and being a cyclist. Topics include – laws and fines that apply to both cyclists and drivers, sharing space with pedestrians and other road users, common misconceptions about turns, parking, passing, right of way and more. You will also get the opportunity to ask questions!

Basic Bike Maintenance: Thursday June 20, 12 – 1 pm

Toronto General Hospital, Elizabeth St Entrance

Have any questions concerns about how to maintain your bike? Or simply just want to get more informed? Come by to this session, as expert bike mechanic will provide insight on how to maintain your bike. Topics include – safety checks, assessing air pressure, flat tires, tightening brakes, lubing chains, and ensuring your bike is the right fit. Open to all UHN staff and volunteers.

A deeper look into Earth Week(s) at the UHN

With Earth Week(s) here at the UHN completed, we can definitely say it was a success, with over 350 ballots filled and even more visitors! We travelled with our Earth Week Booth all over UHN, with Toronto General Hospital, Princess Margaret Centre Research Tower, and OPG boasting the highest volumes of engaged booth visitors. Lots of employees walked away with more knowledge and a pack of seeds to help get their garden started! The graph below shows the engagement at the various sites in comparison to each other.

Graph depicts the engagement at the various sites visited

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Meet the Intern!

For those that haven’t met me yet, I’m Sinthusha, the new sustainability co-op working with Lisa Vanlint! I’m pursuing a double major at the University of Waterloo in Science and Business. When I agreed to this job, I thought I knew what I was getting myself into but I was wrong, very, very, very wrong, in the best possible way 🙂 In the two months I’ve been here, I’ve done so much more and learned so much.

Thank you Kelvin Chan Tung and Blair Gage for remembering to shut the sash of their lab’s fume hood! This saves so much energy! (like, more than a house)

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