#RippleEffectUBC campaign shines the spotlight on sustainability at UBC
Walk into UBC’s Vancouver campus Student Union Building this week and you’ll be transported through time and space to the platform of a future transit station on campus. While students will be able to step in and look around, the station will merely be an illusion created by artist Scott Gillies.
Gillies’ three-dimensional rendering, also known as an anamorphic painting, of a station is just one of many events surrounding #RippleEffectUBC, a new campaign designed to draw attention to sustainability initiatives at the University.
“I am really looking forward to this UBC painting because the scale is the largest I’ve attempted,” says Gillies, a Victoria-based artist who worked with Campus and Community Planning to give students, faculty and staff a glimpse of what their future could look like if a rapid transit line is built to UBC’s Vancouver campus. “The fun comes for me when you stand at the precise focal point of the image and your mind can make that leap to believe that this anamorphic picture is actually a dimensional object, or in this case, a hole in the floor with a train station platform emerging.”
“The 3D rendering will create the experience of waiting at a rapid transit station,” says Carole Jolly, director of transportation for Campus and Community Planning. “It’s a way to get our community more engaged and aware of the initiative and to drum up some support and excitement.”
Jolly explains that one of UBC’s goals is to change travel behaviours by promoting walking, cycling, and transit to get on and off campus and around campus. Since 1997, the number of transit trips to campus has increased 298 per cent, in part because UBC implemented the mandatory U-pass system for students.
But now buses to UBC are overcrowded. The Broadway corridor is the busiest bus route in North America. It is estimated that 500,000 people trying to get to work or school are passed-up annually by the 99 B-Line bus. Both the UBC Alma Mater Society and the University have made it clear that having a rapid transit connection to UBC is a priority. A KPMG report found that building a rapid transit line along the Broadway corridor would boost the economic potential of the region.
Transforming the university
As blue construction fences and new landscaping pop up on campus, members of the Vancouver campus community may wonder why their university is undergoing so much change. Over the next two weeks, the UBC Sustainability Initiative and their campus partners are hosting events to showcase what UBC is doing to minimize its environmental impact on the world.
“The campus is being transformed into a living lab where we can test and advance our knowledge on sustainability,” says John Robinson, associate provost, sustainability. “Whether the changes are big, like a new stormwater system, or small, like adding bike racks or electric car charging stations, students should be proud of the sustainability initiatives at UBC.”
Small changes lead to big results
In 2010, UBC committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 33 per cent by 2015, 67 per cent by 2020, and 100 per cent by 2050. Many in the university community are aware of major changes helping push UBC towards its targets like converting its aging steam district energy system to hot water and generating clean heat and electricity from biomass. But there is a lot more going on behind the scenes where even small tweaks can generate big results.
On UBC’s Vancouver campus, Buchanan Tower and Neville Scarfe Building were the first to undergo ‘building tune-ups.’ The pilot program looked at building operations and what changes can be made to make them more energy-efficient. Before the tune-up, for example, Scarfe’s hot water pumps ran all night. Now they are turned off overnight and the results are being monitored.
Tune-ups are now underway in 17 research-intensive buildings. Over the next four years, 30 more buildings will be completed. These small changes are projected to save the University over $700,000 annually in utility costs.
Reducing emissions and energy use are just two of UBC’s ambitious sustainability goals. Between Nov. 4 –15, the #RippleEffectUBC campaign aims to shed light on the things you know and the things you don’t about UBC sustainability.
“Our university is a giant sandbox, a place where there is the freedom to explore creatively and collaboratively,” says Robinson. “There are so many opportunities to get involved in sustainability at UBC. We hope we will catch the attention of someone and get them engaged where they haven’t been before.”
- Catch artist Scott Gillies in action as he paints a 3D image of a transit station on campus (Artist tip: Look for a cow in the picture in support of the Cows on Campus event, info below)
- Catch a drive to class in a UBC Building Operations electric car
- Meet some cows on campus and learn about UBC’s renowned research on animal welfare
- Take the taste test challenge – can you taste the difference between bottled water and tap water?
- Attend the Stormwater Theatre Show and learn all about the new water feature along University Blvd
- Want a bike tune-up? The Bike Kitchen will get your ride in tip top shape while you find out about UBC Buildings Tune-ups
- What does opera have in common with sustainability? UBC Opera is hooked on the second “R” of Reduce, Reuse and Recycle
For more information and events, visit: http://sustain.ubc.ca/rippleeffect