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Thompson Rivers University
Thompson Rivers University

Staff and Faculty Ambassadors

Ambassadors spread the spirit of sustainability at TRU by being a force for change and improving the culture of sustainability on campus. This is a peer-to-peer sustainability education program with staff and faculty ambassadors demonstrating sustainability leadership to their colleagues. This group is ideas-driven, action-oriented, goal-motivated, all while having some fun.

Roles and responsibilities

An ambassador becomes the ‘sustainability champion’ of their department or office, and helps communicate to their workmates the initiatives being promoted.

  • The program is about increasing participation in, and support for, sustainability behaviours and initiatives at work, whether new or existing, big or small.
  • Ambassadors work with like-minded colleagues throughout all faculties, offices and departments on sustainability related initiatives and projects.
Participation is during paid work time
  • The use of paid work time is approved by the TRU Board of Governors to integrate sustainability into an employee’s job responsibilities.
  • Average of one hour per month; and one-year minimum commitment.
Qualifications of ambassadors
  • Passion for sustainability; want to make a difference in the workplace
  • Excellent communication, listening and interpersonal skills; willing to help
  • Confidence to model sustainable behaviours, and to take leadership in engaging peers
  • in more sustainable practices in the workplace
  • Creative thinker: ability to problem-solve; patient and flexible
Benefits to ambassadors
  • Learn about sustainability at TRU and abroad, and work toward a more sustainable
  • future; help save resources and money
  • Network with like-minded peers; feel good about making a difference
  • ‘Free lunch’! (of course, as the saying goes, there is “no free lunch” , but there will
  • be opportunities to join complimentary workinglunches.)
  • Access TRU-specific tools and resources on a variety of topics (social media, etc.)
  • Ability to apply for funding through the TRU Sustainability Grant Fund for
  • sustainability initiatives that involve either TRU staff, faculty, or students. (All
  • members of TRU can apply to this grant. It will restart in the school year).

Program goals

The program has two main long-term goals:

  1. That every TRU staff and faculty office or department (of which there are approximately 80) has a minimum of one sustainability ambassador, so that all TRU employees are served by the program.
  2. That 10 per cent of all TRU staff and faculty members join the Ambassadors Program. This equates to roughly 180 to 190 (as of February 2021, there were 1,816 employees at TRU).

These goals align with achieving full points under the STARS reporting framework for the section ‘Employee Educators Program’.

Meetings / schedule / year-end celebration

Program runs from September to June each year.

  • The program offers on-going training, resources, and educational opportunities to give ambassadors the skills, support and knowledge needed to promote sustainability.
  • Monthly coffee meetings with ambassadors and the program coordinator.
  • Regular Lunch and Learn sessions take place quarterly and focus on priority initiatives and hot topics on campus.
  • Annual June lunch to celebrate everyone’s valuable contributions.

Program elements

Ambassadors can choose any one of the following four initiatives to participate in during the year (September to June). The program coordinator and staff from the Sustainability Office will provide assistance and resources when possible.

  • Conduct a Sustainable Actions Pledge Campaign within their office or department during a month or longer. Prizes supplied by the Sustainability Office.
  • Ambassadors lead a sustainability project within their office or department that the Sustainability Office needs help with, e.g., office paper recycling pilot; paper towel composting pilot; professor green pilot; sustainability slogan sticker contest, etc.
  • Ambassadors lead a new sustainability project or initiative that one or more ambassadors has devised, and who will then partner together to complete.
  • Work on one, two or three sustainability tool kits with office/department colleagues:
    • Zero waste
    • Energy conservation
    • Sustainable printing and going digital
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