Trinity Students: November Water Reduction

When Trinity's Director of Facility Services, Tim Connelly, started taking a hard look at water usage in 2007, he saw that there was room to improve. "Water usage is the biggest challenge to campus sustainability -- we use such large volumes of water, and so often we fail to think of how we are using it -- and how it adds up," says Connelly. Since then, he and his team have worked to find innovative ways to use less, resulting in a significant savings in water use and operating costs. 

In 2011, facilities staff found willing allies in their campaign to save resources when Trinity students approached administration to team up in a UofT wide challenge to see which college could reduce their water usage the most over a month, and thanks to this student and staff partnership, Trinity was the winner. Katie MacDonald is just one of the students leading the charge to save on water. "Working to change student behaviour is a challenging task, but once students realize that simple changes -- such as turning off the shower when applying shampoo -- make big differences, it is amazing what they can do collectively."

Connelly agrees, "I believe that changing behaviour is the most important thing, and while this can sometimes be the hardest thing to do, it is critical if we want to see meaningful change."

Trinity students and the Trinity College Environment Society have continued to challenge themselves to reduce water usage and for the last two years, they have begun a November "Trinity vs. St. Hilda's challenge." Thanks to this and other on-going initiatives College wide, Trinity's November water usage has dropped by nearly 37% since 2007 and this month looks on track to save 6.5% over last November. 

"The focus now is on facilitating a lasting connection between sustainability and students," says Connelly, "because students determine the culture, and the usage of the utilities we are trying to conserve. This not only improves our water footprint, but also our bottom line."