2021 Sustainability Award Winners

Calgary Community Fridge

Undergraduate Student Sustainability Award

Sasha Lavoie, Calgary Community Fridge, University of Calgary

The Calgary Community Fridge project is a mutual aid project examining food insecurity and the barriers to access nutritional and culturally appropriate food needs started by undergraduate student Sasha Lavoie. The fridge is available 24/7 to anyone in need. This program runs on the generosity of those who wish to donate. This initiative targets complex issues within Calgary’s food system by raising awareness for the interconnections between food insecurity, poverty, equality, hunger, health and wellbeing while providing compassionate and dignified support to those in need.

This initiative connects to Sustainable Development Goals 1 – No Poverty, 2 – Zero Hunger, 3 – Good Health and Wellbeing and 10 – Reduced Inequalities.

Graduate Student Sustainability Award

Bita Malekian, Master of Engineering, Schulich School of Engineering  
Founder of Water Movement (WM)

Bita founded Water Movement (WM), an initiative that aims to support Indigenous Water Treatment Operators across Canada, who are the first line of defense in this national water crisis. Water Movement fills a void in an often-fragmented industry and bridges the connection between Indigenous water operators whose work is vital to the health and well-being of countless communities. Through the joint efforts of industry professionals and university students, it provides a collaborative online space where Indigenous Water Treatment Operators can connect, share lessons learned and access training videos that act as educational tools. In addition to providing resources and an interactive collaboration zone for those in the industry, Water Movement seeks to raise awareness among the next generation of water leaders. Bita’s contribution demonstrates how vital collaboration, community engagement, education and research are in finding effective solutions to societal challenges.

This initiative connects to Sustainable Development Goals 6 – Clean Water and Sanitation, 9 – Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure, 10 – Reduced Inequalities and 17 – Partnership for the Goals.


Bita Malekian
Bee Campus

Staff Sustainability Award

The Digital Bee Collection Team

A collaborative effort between the Department of Biological Sciences, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Libraries and Cultural Resources, and the Office of Sustainability enabled UCalgary to obtain its Bee Campus certification from Bee City Canada. The Digital Bee Collection team enhanced public understanding of the importance of bee conservation on agricultural and urban landscapes by demonstrating our commitment to protecting pollinators. This interdisciplinary group digitized over 230 native Alberta bee species, launched a biodiversity website, and hosted a pollinator celebration that included native plant gardening, bee box building, and a campus bio blitz through iNaturalist. Their work continues to grow, engaging and educating the campus and broader communities on bee biodiversity to foster a greater awareness and appreciation for the importance of pollinator conservation.

This initiative connects to Sustainable Development Goals 11 – Sustainable Cities and Communities and  15 – Life on Land.

Sustainability Teaching Award

David V. Wright, Faculty of Law, Assistant Professor

David Wright's revamp of the Environmental Impact Assessment Law courses has created rich sustainability learning opportunities for JD and LLM students by exposing them to broader themes within environmental law such as climate change, Indigenous perspective and sustainable development. David’s contribution will prepare students to make positive impacts in the realm of sustainability throughout their future legal careers.

This initiative connects to Sustainable Development Goals 4 – Quality Education, 13 – Climate Action, 16 – Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions and 17 – Partnership for the Goals.

David Wright
Sustainability Research Award

Sustainability Research Award

Dr. David Nicholas, Faculty of Social Work, Professor and Associate Dean, Research and Partnerships

Dr. Nicholas’ research on neurodiversities and the development of an ecosystem model targets complex issues and addresses employment capacity building for those with neurodiversities; in particular, autism. This work will better support neurodiverse individuals in the workforce and create more sustainable communities. Dr. Nicholas’ approach builds trust between many groups who have not previously worked together while increasing employment levels of those with neurodiversities and strengthening a range of local employers’ operations.

This initiative connects to Sustainable Development Goals 8 – Decent Work and Economic Growth, 10 – Reduced Inequalities and 11 – Sustainable Cities and Communities.


Experiential Learning Project in Sustainability Award

Zoology 435 – Entomology Team

Designed in Fall 2020, the ZOOL 435 – Entomology course raised thought-provoking questions about insects and the essential role they play in maintaining functioning ecosystems and sustainable communities. This course incorporates research-based experience where students collaborate with the City of Calgary, document local insect biodiversity, and discuss why insect diversity in Alberta matters. Contributions from this experiential learning project will enhance the next iterations of entomology courses at UCalgary, as students recorded 3396 photographs of insects as digital observations to the iNaturalist platform and donated 3474 physical specimens. These valuable resources will be available for students to use in future research projects.

This initiative connects to Sustainable Development Goals 2 – Zero Hunger, 4 – Quality Education, 12 – Responsible Consumption and Production and 15 – Life on Land. 

Zoology 435

Questions about the UCalgary Sustainability Awards? Contact the Sustainability Resource Centre.