University of Calgary

President Cannon hands out 5th annual SustainabilityON Awards

UToday HomeApril 10, 2013

By Jennifer Allford

About 200 people came out to recognize the success of faculty, staff and students who are helping “transform the university,” at the fifth annual SustainabiltyON Awards Monday in the MacEwan Ballroom.

“We’re serious about our commitment to sustainability,” President Elizabeth Cannon said as she listed a number of achievements on campus over the last year that are “tangible, impressive ways that we are on the leading edge.”

Cannon told the audience “you are on the frontlines” before opening the red envelopes that announced the SustainabilityON winners in three categories: student leadership, staff leadership and teaching leadership.

The student leadership award was a tie between Engineers without Borders (EWB), which led the Fair Trade campus initiative to become the fourth Fair Trade university in Canada, and Adam Swertz, a third-year business student who is spearheading an eco move-out initiative to divert waste from students moving out of residence.

“It really, really felt like an honour to meet President Cannon and shake her hand and be up on stage receiving an award from her,” says Swertz. EWB volunteer and fourth-year arts student, Julia Milner, says, “It was very nice to be recognized. EWB is very passionate about driving systemic change to alleviate poverty.”

The award for staff leadership in sustainability was also a tie. As she called them to the stage to receive their awards, Cannon called Jill Blackie, manager, meetings and special events, “the initiator of change,” and Barry Dyck, director, operations and redevelopment, SU, “the “enabler of change” for their work reducing waste at Hotel Alma and in the MacEwan Student Centre respectively.

Kinesiology professor Janice Cook won the teaching leadership award for helping her class run a waste-free Dinos basketball game. “I have gone to this luncheon a few times in the past and it was quite a small event,” she says. “It’s wonderful to see how it’s growing and that there is so much momentum.”

Three certificates of excellence were also awarded to winners of awards sponsored by the Office of Sustainability over the course of the year.

Accepting the certificate of excellence for winning the 2012 Undergraduate Research Symposium were Kimberly Quach and Máté Bezdek, who won the social sustainability and environmental sustainability categories respectively.

Hannah Mercader, the co-president of Hope 2 Opportunity, helped accept the certificate of excellence recognizing the club’s leadership in sustainability and for winning the SU Club Award in the sustainability category. “This is only our second year and it feels really good to know that everybody appreciates the work that we do and our endeavours with water issues around the world,” she says.

The event also celebrated the contributions of the more than 450 students, staff, faculty and groups actively involved in advancing the pursuit of sustainability in the campus community.

For more stories on how students, staff and faculty are stepping up together to turn SustainabilityON or to learn how you can become involved, visit:


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