The University of Alberta respectfully acknowledges that we are located on Treaty 6 territory, traditional lands of First Nations and Métis people.
The Sustainability Council is an academic leadership unit that works with all faculties to spark learning, discovery and citizenship for sustainability.
We provide students with courses and experiential learning opportunities that lead to meaningful careers. We create avenues for academics to join a central conversation on researching and teaching sustainability issues.
Message from the director
I want to start this year’s message by thanking the team in the Sustainability Council office. The year was tremendously challenging, but the team did a great job at managing to carry out our mission in a very effective way despite the shift to online. I’m proud of what they have managed to accomplish.
You will notice that this year’s annual report looks somewhat different than in the past couple of years. This less splashy summary of our year’s activities is an intentional change as we transition our reporting efforts to the development of the University of Alberta’s first university-wide report on the United Nations’
(SDGs). We are working with University of Alberta International (UAI) and Energy Management and Sustainable Operations (EMSO) on this. It builds upon our 64th place ranking in the Times Higher Education Impact Rankings, a ranking that assesses universities by their overall contribution in addressing the SDG. The Sustainability Council led that effort in partnership with UAI and we see it as a great starting point to build from.
I am pleased to note that our academic programs are continuing to do well. The
has grown to more than 400 students and our SUST 201 course launched this fall with SUST 202 to follow this winter. Our first students are taking our directed study SUST 410 course which is open to students and instructors from across the university (with approval from our advisors). We’ve also been doing background work on options for graduate studies—please reach out to me if you are interested in learning more and sharing your thoughts on graduate level sustainability education.
We have continued to expand our
efforts adding new partners for our Sustainability Scholars program this past year, including the Métis Nation of Alberta, Alberta Women Entrepreneurs and Clark Builders. We also partnered with the Government of Alberta and Government of Canada on a new
initiative. The Adaptation Resilience Program provides us with $1 million in funding to support sustainability related internships for recent post-secondary graduates.
Those are just a few highlights of a very busy year. Please have a look through the document to learn more about what we have been up to.
I want to finish this message by thanking three folks who have been key in our success in the early years of the Sustainability Council. Lars Halstrom, Sheena Wilson, and Frank Robinson were the original members of what started as a very small council three years ago when we launched. Lars has moved on to the University of Lethbridge, Sheena has been away on leave this year, and Frank is moving forwards towards retirement. As such, we have added a number of new members to what will be a greatly expanded council representing members from across the university’s multiple campuses. I will be sitting down with them this fall where we will be discussing our priorities for the near and long term. These plans will be shared later this fall in our ever evolving Action Plan document which outlines our path forwards on an ongoing basis.