Youth leaders explore sustainability at UBC Okanagan Nov. 5

Student leaders from seven Central Okanagan secondary schools will join Kelowna Mayor Sharon Shepherd at UBC Okanagan next Thursday, Nov. 5, for a day-long Mayor's Youth Forum focused on sustainability - the first of its kind in Kelowna.

"The day's events will provide fun, interactive learning opportunities for the students," says Leanne Bilodeau, Manager of UBC Okanagan's Office of Workplace Health and Sustainability. "This is an opportunity for the youth of Kelowna to work with UBC Okanagan students, staff and faculty to learn about sustainability within the City of Kelowna and what we are doing at UBC Okanagan to support a sustainable campus."

Participants will hear several presenters, including Mayor Shepherd and leadership and management expert Hugh Culver. They will also tour five stations around the campus, introducing students to a wide variety of sustainability initiatives at UBC Okanagan, looking at sustainable practices through social, economic, ecological, and cultural lenses.

Highlights of the tour include:

  • UBC Okanagan's geoexchange groundwater energy system for heating and cooling all academic building on campus. Approximately 80 per cent of all heating and cooling on campus is generated from low- to no-carbon sources.
  • The Fipke Centre for Innovative Research, which was the first building to use the geoexchange system. In addition, the Fipke Centre has a wind tower which intercepts air, reclaims heat and redistributes it back into the piping system, to ensure there is fresh air in the building.
  • The Campus Trails System, a network of walking trails on and around the campus.
  • The university's new artificial turf field which requires no water, no mowing, and allows teams to play up to 10 months of the year.
  • The campus irrigation systems, reducing the previous maximum demand from 19,000 cubic metres of water to 10,000 cubic metres and other sustainable campus features, such as benches made from 728 pop cans, 112 licence plates or 256 milk jugs.

Students will also learn about waste reduction and recycling programs on campus, and the UPass bus pass program, which provides every university student with a low-cost pass for Kelowna Regional Transit busses.

The youth leaders are from George Elliot Secondary in Lake Country, Rutland Secondary School, Kelowna Secondary School, Kelowna Christian School, Immaculata Regional High School, Okanagan Mission Secondary School, and Mt. Boucherie Secondary School.  Youth leaders will have the chance to prepare recommendations to Mayor Shepherd and City Council as an outcome of the forum.

For more information about sustainability initiatives at UBC Okanagan, visit

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