Recognized as one of Hamilton-Niagara's Top Employers (2019):
By Richard Yerema and Kristina Leung, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Nov 20, 2018)
Here are some of the reasons why Mohawk College was selected as one of Hamilton-Niagara's Top Employers (2019):
- Employees at Mohawk College can keep fit at the fully-equipped onsite fitness centre which features a variety of instructor-led classes and even an outdoor beach volleyball court -- employees can also enjoy an extended hike along the nearby Bruce Trail that winds along the Niagara Escarpment
- Mohawk College employees can plan for life after work with contributions to a defined benefit pension plan, assistance with retirement planning, phased-in work options when they near retirement, as well as retiree health benefits (with no age limit)
- Mohawk College employees are encouraged to keep their skills up-to-date through a variety of in-house training programs as well as through generous tuition subsidies for courses that are both related and unrelated to their current position (up to $10,500 annually)
Recognized as one of Canada's Greenest Employers (2018):
By Richard Yerema and Kristina Leung, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Apr 18, 2018)
Here are some of the reasons why Mohawk College was selected as one of Canada's Greenest Employers (2018):
- Mohawk College has taken impressive steps to ensure greater use of alternative transit, offering discounted transit passes for students (cost is part of their tuition), a bicycle loan program managed by the Sustainability Office, support for carpoolers (lets up to four people share one parking pass) and an on campus car sharing service for sign-out when needed
- In addition to adopting LEED building standards for new construction, Mohawk College boasts a number of creative features across the campus, from community gardens and a rooftop pollinator garden, to water bottle filling stations to accompany a disposable water bottle ban, and a unique "Waste Management Zone" in one cafeteria, which features all recycling stations and a proper place to wash reusable mugs, containers and cutlery
- Established in 2011, Mohawk College's Environmental Management Plan committed the College to a 20% carbon reduction target below the 2007 baseline by the year 2020 -- the College exceeded this target 8 years ahead of schedule and through the updated "Environmental Management Plan 2.0", established a revised goal of a 30% reduction below 2007 levels
Building net-zero efficiencies at Mohawk College
One of the biggest opportunities for addressing climate change is through improved energy efficiency in the way buildings are constructed and powered. On this front, Mohawk College in Hamilton, Ont. is a leader.
This September, students will begin using the Joyce Centre for Partnership and Innovation (JCP&I), one of the largest "net zero carbon" buildings in Canada and the first of its kind in Ontario. The 96,000-square-foot centre, comprised of classrooms, labs, lecture halls and common spaces, will be entirely powered by renewable energy, including solar and geothermal. It will also be something of a training ground for students in how they can live, learn and lead in tomorrow's lower carbon economy.
"One of our goals is for students to actually manage and control the outcomes of this building for days or weeks at a time," says Tony Cupido, Mohawk's Chief Buildings & Facilities Officer. "I want students to know this building better than I do."
The JCP&I is just one of many ways Mohawk College is taking the lead on sustainability. The college, which serves 30,000 full-time, part-time and apprenticeship and international students, was the first Ontario college to implement a campus-wide environmental management plan - one that has allowed it to achieve a 30 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions compared to a 2007 baseline.
Last fall, the college also became home to the new Centre for Climate Change Management, an innovative partnership with the cities of Hamilton and Burlington, with support from the Ontario government.
This centre will bring together college, business, government and community organizations in a collaborative effort to reduce the carbon footprint across the region.
It also oversees a campus carbon management program that will help establish and share best practices, providing an essential toolkit for reducing carbon emissions at the 24 colleges across Ontario.
A key priority is to get students involved in practical sustainability initiatives, both on campus and throughout the region.
"In addition to integrating sustainability outcomes into our curriculum, we want to work with local businesses and organizations to get students directly involved in projects that address climate change," says Kate Flynn, Manager, Campus Sustainability and Climate Change. "We'll have a full-time person who will be helping students find those kinds of opportunities."
This will build on work that's already been underway at the college for several years. For example, in addition to their usual fees, every student at Mohawk College contributes $5 each semester to the Sustainability Initiatives Fund. Through the Idea Bank campaign, students are then asked for ideas on how that money can best be utilized. Student-driven initiatives to date include a campus community garden, a rooftop pollinator garden and a bike loan program.
Flynn says that Mohawk's leadership on sustainability is a source of pride and motivation for college employees.
"When you do this kind of work, you find champions within your organization who are so excited by this opportunity," she says. "It increases their satisfaction levels to be part of something that's bigger than themselves."
Flynn is one of those champions. She became a campus employee in 2015; at the time, she was running an organic farm with her husband and was helping the college on a couple of projects related to sustainable food.
"When I got here, there was such an enthusiasm to make positive change," she says. "I just wanted to be part of it."
Cupido says that committed, energetic employees like Flynn have been a critical part of Mohawk's success to date on sustainability. Going forward, he believes initiatives like the net-zero carbon JCP&I and the Centre for Climate Change Management will help shape the next generation of sustainability leaders.
"At the college, we graduate tens of thousands of individuals who then go on to all kinds of workplaces," he says. "They will help spread the news about better ways to increase energy efficiency and live and work in a low carbon economy."