Our ultimate success lies in teaching and empowering a generation of young people to uplift people and the planet, a mission they will carry forward into graduate studies, research fields, the workforce, government and the community.
The Campus Sustainability Leaders Awards are presented annually by the Sustainability Council and Energy Management and Sustainable Operations. Awarded since 2012, this program recognizes engaged students, faculty, and staff for their dedication, impact, and active citizenship within the campus community. Recognition affirms the work that often happens behind the scenes and under the radar, and inspires the next generation to follow in these footsteps. Past winners come from various disciplines which demonstrate the wide array of champions, innovators, and change agents contributing to a brighter tomorrow within the campus and far reaching community.
This year’s judging panel selected two academic staff to be recognized for their innovation and community-engaged research.
Neelakshi Joshi is a post-doctoral research fellow focused on municipal transitions to low-carbon pathways in Canada. Her doctoral work assessed the risks of rapid unplanned urban development in the Himalayas. Previously she worked at the World Resource Institute as a consultant for sustainable transport and at the Auroville Earth Institute, specializing in low cost and sustainable earth-based construction.
Brenda L. Parlee is a professor in the Faculty of ALES who has worked in northern Canada and globally for over 20 years on a range of collaborative and community-based research projects related to community-based monitoring. She is the principal investigator of Tracking Change, a collaborative research initiative focused on the role of local and traditional knowledge in the sustainable governance of the Mackenzie-Amazon-Mekong river basins.
The Sustainability Council affiliate network is meant to connect the university’s many faculty who incorporate sustainability into their teaching, research and administrative interests. Affiliates receive regular email updates on the council’s programs and ways to support sustainability academics, such as calls for proposals and consultations.
In 2020–21, we set aside any plans to hold networking or professional development meetings in order to avoid contributing to members’ Zoom fatigue. Meetings will resume in 2021–22.
Alberta Student Leadership Summit
The Alberta Student Leadership Summit (ASLS) is organized annually by the University of Alberta Student Union. The ASLS embraced the benefits of online events in order to present a free 5-day, nation-wide conference open to all high school and post-secondary students.
With pandemic impacts and shifts in programming and resources, Sustain SU and the Sustainability Council mutually decided not to hold the Student Sustainability Summit in 2021 and instead contributed our efforts to enhancing the ASLS with a robust sustainability stream of programming.
Our financial contribution ensured that there were two sustainability-themed keynotes. Dr. James Makokis and Anthony Johnson shared lessons from their time as Team Ahkameyimok, the Indigenous, Two-Spirit winners of the Amazing Race in 2019. Mike Mellross drew on his experience with the City of Edmonton and his new position with the Alberta Ecotrust Foundation to show how cities can lead the way to an (only) 1.5°C warmer world.
We also arranged presentations from Certificate in Sustainability students, Sustainability Council volunteer Lele Xiao on climate refugees, and others on fair trade, e-waste, and energy research. Sustainability Council volunteers and interns enhanced the summit’s social time, too, with a sustainability-themed version of Kahoot!
488 students registered for the summit, with an average of 104 attendees at the 31 sessions over 5 days.