From student volunteers starting up a compost initiative in Crowsnest Hall, to a passionate committee of faculty working to embed sustainability in the academic experience, the ninth annual Sustainability Awards on March 22 recognized outstanding leadership in sustainability.
Over 150 people joined to celebrate our recent sustainability achievements and the dedicated students, groups, faculty and staff members behind them.
In her opening address, President Elizabeth Cannon spoke with pride about the collective impact of campus members. Cannon pointed to UCalgary’s recent Sustainability, Tracking, Assessment and Rating System (STARS) Gold Rating as affirmation that we are on the right track in our journey towards excellence and leadership in sustainability and meeting our Institutional Sustainability Strategy goals.
“The University of Calgary achieved our highest score (in STARS) to date. At the time of receiving our rating, we ranked second in Canada and 12th in North America for overall performance across 17 impact areas. This sets us apart as a leader and it’s a strong indicator of how we’ve made sustainability a priority across our institution,” says Cannon.
With help from student emcees Kathy Pham and Hailey Hewstan, President Cannon recognized this year’s finalists and winners. Award winners walked away with a certificate and a lucky bamboo plant which is a symbol of positive energy, success, resilience, and fortitude; the same attributes embodied by our sustainability leaders.
“The initiatives showcased at the Sustainability Awards are truly inspiring,” says Joanne Perdue, chief sustainability officer. “They demonstrate the diverse and innovative approaches our students, faculty and staff are taking to weave sustainability into our campus culture, and to advance sustainability in local and global communities.”
The wide variety of nominations this year also demonstrated “an increasingly integrative and collaborative approach,” says Perdue. “This reflects the maturing culture of sustainability at the University of Calgary.”
This year's Sustainability Award recipients:
Academic Sustainability Implementation Committee (ASIC) — Campus as a Learning Laboratory
This committee of faculty members was instrumental in the development of the Integrated Framework for Education and Research on Sustainability which includes goals for integrating education and research in sustainability through project-based learning and development of an embedded Certificate in Sustainability Studies. Together these initiatives are providing undergraduate students with opportunities to participate in interdisciplinary research and experiential learning projects on campus and in the community. Learn more
Getachew Assefa — Campus as a Learning Laboratory
Getachew Assefa, the Athena Chair in Life Cycle Assessment and an associate professor in the Faculty of Environmental Design, worked with student Chelsea Ambler and Facilities to compare the potential life cycle environmental impacts of different scenarios for redeveloping the MacKimmie Library Tower. They found repurposing scenarios had up to 40 per cent less impact, helping make the decision to renew the tower with “selective deconstruction.” Learn more
David Lertzman — Community as a Learning Partner
David Lertzman, assistant professor at the Haskayne School of Business and senior associate with International Resource Industries and Sustainability Centre, offers unique courses that connect students to communities to provide an enriched platform for learning. In his Haskayne Wilderness Retreat, students are challenged to deepen their reflective capacity and discover their leadership potential with support of Native elders. In his Applied Leadership course, MBA students are partnered with teams of undergraduates to work on projects for not-for-profit and social venture enterprises, providing hands-on learning opportunities for solving real world problems. Learn more
Eduard Cubi — Teaching Leadership
Eduard Cubi, a research associate in the Schulich School of Engineering, has transformed the delivery of the ENEE 503 course on life cycle assessment to enrich the student learning experience while providing students with a stake in executing our Institutional Sustainability Strategy. Cubi guided over 100 students through over 20 studies, including reducing waste at campus food services, design choices for more energy-efficient buildings and reducing emissions from the campus fleet, to support evidence-based decision-making on campus. Learn more
Jason Donev — Teaching Leadership
Jason Donev, a senior instructor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, teaches Physics 371 (Introduction to Energy) which helps students understand fossil fuels, their alternatives and associated costs. With the help of his students, Donev developed the online encyclopedia energyeducation.ca for use in teaching his course. His students most appreciate his creation of a learning environment that supports free thinking and discussion while ensuring each student's success and deepened understanding of the subject matter. Learn more
Julie Drolet — Teaching Leadership
Julie Drolet, associate professor in the Faculty of Social Work, teaches a number of courses ranging from sustainable social development to social work practice with immigrants and refugees. Drolet seeks out every opportunity to provide students access to meaningful hands-on learning and broadening their knowledge from multiple perspectives. Her practicum courses give students meaningful fieldwork that connects them with communities in which they can acquire practical skills while making a difference by addressing societal, natural and economic issues. Learn more
Crowsnest Composting Team — Student Leadership
This dedicated team of 10 students introduced a composting program in the Crowsnest Hall residence building that successfully removed over 1,600 litres of compost and reduced waste going to the landfill by 30 per cent. This project is the first of its kind in a residence at UCalgary. Learn more
Students Against Domestic Abuse Association — Student Club Leadership
The Students Against Domestic Abuse Association is the first club of its kind in Canada. The club and its 100 members help reduce stigma and provides students who have experienced domestic abuse with an outlet to share their stories. The club organized an End the Cycle Summit, partnered with the Ori-Aid club to raise more than $2,000 for the Calgary Women’s Emergency Shelter, and is part of the Calgary Domestic Violence Collective. Learn more
Steven Grossick — Staff Leadership
Steven Grossick, a supervisor in Residence Facilities Maintenance, has been instrumental in many waste reduction initiatives, including the annual Residence Move Out (which began as a student-led initiative). Over four years, this program diverted over seven metric tonnes of food, clothing, appliances, furniture, electronics, paper and cardboard from the waste stream. Learn more
To learn more about all the great work our students, staff and faculty are doing, visit the Sustainability website or the Sustainability Resource Centre in Science B 101.