What we do matters

It was great to gather together last week at our annual Facilities’ Ice Cream Social. The weather was spectacular and it was a perfect time — day, evening, or night shift — for ice cream and connecting with our colleagues and partners.

It was a day of big changes for Facilities, UBC announced our 17th President—Dr. Benoit-Antoine Bacon, while we announced that our colleague Jennifer Sanguinetti has accepted a position at SFU. Jennifer has been our valued leader and colleague for over 9 years, and while it is difficult to see such a great colleague leave UBC, it is wonderful to see Jennifer take the next step in her career.

A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to give our presidential candidates a tour of the Vancouver campus. I connected with Dr. Bacon on many different topics, and I was impressed by his deep knowledge of facilities. During the tours, one of the candidates noted, “You probably saw that UBC’s position in the QS World University Rankings just jumped from #47 to #34. This was due in part to UBC’s extensive work and reputation around sustainability, including the work of you and your team. You should congratulate them”.

I am truly proud of our team’s contribution to our sustainability efforts. What we do matters. From planning and developing net zero carbon buildings, reducing Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions from the district energy system and our vehicle fleet, improving the energy efficiency of campus buildings, conserving water and using organic pesticides in our landscape operations, recycling rubber gloves and paper towels in custodial, running a municipal scale recycling and composting program, and the list goes on— we have directly contributed to UBC’s global reputation.

Thank you for everything you do for the university

The ice cream social has always been a significant opportunity for me to personally thank you for everything you do for the university. I see your work and how our team takes on challenges every day to keep the campus running and working. What we do together is immensely important.

Our Building Operations and Energy & Water Services teams work together to keep the campus community comfortable in their spaces while also saving energy. Our Custodial Services and Municipal Services teams keep our buildings and public realm clean and looking good every day, and cleared of snow in the winter. Our Infrastructure Development team works with our operations units to design and build spaces that work for the campus community. Our Customer Services & Informatics team keeps us all connected and accountable to our customers. And of course, everything we do relies working closely with our colleagues and partners across the VPFO in Safety & Risk Services, Finance, Human Resources, and Communications & Engagement.

Look around and you will see that you are surrounded by colleagues and people who really care about the university. You’ll see people who want to help you, just like you want to help them. We all want to thrive and grow as a team and make a difference.

So, remember, we aim high as a team and we succeed as a team. And when we occasionally fail, we fail as a team and we learn from it together and get better every day.

I’m proud of you all and what we do together for UBC.

John Metras
Associate Vice-President, Facilities