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University of Calgary, students, win sustainability awards

By Daniel Huss, October 30 2017 —

The University of Calgary is the winner of the Sustainable Development Goals Award from Global Compact Network Canada 2017. The award recognizes Canadian organizations demonstrating progress towards the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The U of C said they are focused on eight of the 17 goals, including ‘No Poverty,’ ‘Zero Hunger’ and ‘Climate Action.’

The U of C presented their 2017 Sustainability Report on Oct. 19. The event, held in MacHall, featured student initiatives like the campus community garden and a report by the U of C chief sustainability officer Joanne Purdue regarding redevelopment of MacKimmie complex.

“The MacKimmie redevelopment project was selected as one of 16 projects to take part in a pilot program to help the Canada Green Building Consulate develop a new zero-carbon building standard for Canada,” she said.

Purdue added that she thinks students have played a huge role in pursuing the SDGs. According to her, students self-reported 1.6-million hours of community service last year. Purdue added that the volunteer work comes from across campus.

“It could be in co-curricular programs that are through Leadership and Student Engagement or through the Office of Sustainability,” Purdue said. “It’s really distributed broadly across programs.”

The event also recognized the first group of students completing their Certificate in Sustainability Studies, which was launched in 2016. The certificate is the first of its kind among Canadian universities, allowing students to take the requisite courses with any undergraduate degree.

Two students were presented TD Bank Group Awards in Sustainability Studies for their work on and off campus.

Fourth-year Haskayne student Calvin Ng was one of the winners. He said the certificate offered him new insight on sustainability.

“What [sustainability] really means is a multi-discipline setting,” he said. “Sustainability can be applied in city building, it can be applied into the Alberta grid system and grid systems for energy across the world.”

Ng added that he hopes more business and engineering students participate in the certificate.

“It was very different from what I’ve experienced as a business student,” he said. “There’s active learning between disciplines. I think that is super important for every type of student to learn about.”

Third-year sustainability development studies student Erin Knight, who also received the award, has taken her knowledge about sustainability to initiatives on campus and to an internship in Singapore.

“I truly think that sustainability is a facet of every single thing that we do, especially in human development like humanitarian work and economies of foreign countries,” Knight said.

In the presentation, Purdue said that 34 per cent of U of C graduates in 2016 completed at least one sustainability-focused course.

The Sustainability Resource Centre is located in Science B 101 and welcomes students looking for more information about sustainability on campus.

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