From the Boardroom//

From the Boardroom: Governors discuss encampments and carbon emissions

UBC’s Board of Governors met in the University Centre Ballroom at UBC Okanagan on June 27 to discuss the encampments on UBC campuses and to receive an update on the university’s Climate Action Plan 2030.

Here’s what you might’ve missed.

President welcomes ‘robust discussions’ with Palestinian solidarity protesters

UBC President Benoit-Antoine Bacon said in his opening remarks, "the ongoing violence unfolding in Israel and Palestine, as well as in Ukraine, continues to evoke complex emotions around the world.”

Bacon also said UBC is monitoring the Palestinian solidarity encampments on UBC’s Vancouver and Okanagan (UBCO) campuses and that community safety is UBC’s main priority.

“We've taken a deescalating approach and we continue to welcome robust discussions with protesters towards a peaceful resolution,” said Bacon.

UBC has reduced carbon emissions as per Climate Action Plan 2030

UBC Campus + Community Planning’s Director of Sustainability & Engineering John Madden and Campus Planning UBC Okanagan’s Director Ben Johnson gave an update on UBC’s Climate Action Plan 2030.

Madden said there has been “significant progress” in reducing greenhouse gas emissions at UBC. He said there has been a 35 per cent reduction in emissions since 2007 and a 55 per cent reduction per capita.

“That is pretty amazing given that we've experienced about a 46 per cent increase in full time equivalent students and a 28 per cent increase in floor space,” said Madden. “This is demonstrating that with strategic investments, we can actually decouple the impacts with growth and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”

There was a slight increase in emissions over the last year because of the creation of UBC’s new bioenergy facility, according to Madden. Despite this uptick, UBC will achieve a 67 per cent emission reduction by 2025.

Johnson said UBC Okanagan saw an emission reduction of 55 per cent since 2007. He also said food is the fourth largest source of emissions at UBCO.

“We're targeting a 50 per cent reduction in that area through things like local food procurement, more plant based meal options and reusable drinkwear implemented on campus,” said Johnson.

Governor Alison Brewin asked if UBC has invested into student leadership tackling sustainability concerns. Madden said there has been “a lot of effort” put into student engagement by the Sustainability Hub and student-led UBC Climate Hub.

“The UBC Climate Hub is also … doing a lot of work in terms of peer-to-peer engagement between students, such that it doesn't feel like a top down message,” said Madden.

“They're actually developing programs and engagements between themselves that have a greater resonance in terms of increased participation.”