Sustainability Champions Awards
Recognizing ambassadors of change at Concordia
The Sustainability Champions Awards were created to demonstrate Concordia’s collective gratitude for ambassadors of change.
Every year, a call-out for nominations is made and Concordia community members send in nominations of students, staff or faculty members who have made significant contributions towards sustainability at the University.
The sustainability issues range from waste projects to equality education campaigns to teaching alternative business solutions to any other issue that makes our world a better place.
2017 Sustainability Champions
The six recipients of the Sustainability Champions Awards were selected on the basis of their community leadership to advance sustainability, their capacity to inspire participation, their creativity and the impact of their achievements.
Miriam works as an event coordinator at Concordia University, in the Advancement & Alumni Relations department. After attending the EHS’ Sustainability Workshop in September, Miriam decided she wanted to encourage her team to adopt more sustainable practices at their office and homes. She requested that all of her 15 colleagues receive small desktop sized containers in order to better sort their waste. As an event coordinator, Miriam is continuously looking at ways to decrease her department’s environmental impact – from ordering compostable materials, to prioritizing reusable dishes. She additionally redirected second hand office supplies to the Concordia University Centre for Creative Reuse (CUCCR), saving them from ending up in landfill.
Miriam fostered positive environmental actions with immediate local benefits. Her environmentally friendly leadership has demonstrated that the most powerful way to teach is by example.
Ev and Emily are undergraduate students at Concordia University and the Hive Free Lunch co-coordinators. Since they have been part of the Free Lunch they have grown the program from feeding 150 students to well over 200 each day, with their largest day being over 430 people.
They provide extensive kitchen training and serving experience to volunteers, as well as a group of teen boys from an internship for kids who have behavioral and learning difficulties. This opportunity gives youth valuable exposure to healthy and delicious food options, sustainable practices, safe spaces, and work experience they would otherwise possibly never receive.
Ev and Emily share their knowledge of veganism, environmentalism, activism, and accessibility to all who walk through the kitchen doors. They have reached out to other groups on campus for collaboration, such as hosting cooking workshops, and now receive food from City Farm School - a food provider right on campus. The Hive Free Lunch kitchen is a place where students, staff and faculty feel welcome and connected. This aspect of sustainability is something that is felt instead of studied.
Matthew is an undergraduate student in the Geography and Urban Planning Department who has an exceptionally high drive to do something positive for the Concordia community.
In collaboration with Concordia’s Environmental Coordinator, he created a new bin system for the community to sort refundable cans and bottles so that the proceeds could go to Concordia’s Centre for Arts in Human Development. The “Refundables” project recuperates waste more directly than mixed container recycling, benefits people with special needs, and funds an educational program with a problem-based service approach.
Matt’s enthusiasm and drive to do progressive work with tangible results was immediately apparent. He has channeled that drive into one of his most successful projects, his Sustainability 5 à 7.
Matt has been involved in many other sustainability projects, including CSU’s Low Waste Orientation and serving as a Board member with Sustainable Concordia. He has done all of this while taking on his full course load and being an exceptionally supportive and positive peer to his fellow students. Matt’s impact on sustainability at Concordia has been immense and, more importantly, has bridged the usual boundaries of peer groups.
Anna is a Master's student in Art Education, and is the catalyst to the dynamic campus-wide conversation on Reuse, the all too often overlooked "R" from the famous "3 R's" (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle). Her project, the Concordia University Centre for Creative Reuse (CUCCR), is a space that couples art and sustainability at a level of practicality, convenience, and common sense.
Anna has founded a space at the downtown campus for items that would normally be discarded so that they can be repurposed and reused. In doing so, she single-handedly sparked conversations with multiple department heads and staff in order to prepare for a grand opening in March 2017. She has changed waste management at Concordia University to include Creative Reuse Bins, for items that can be reused and redirected to CUCCR, instead of the landfill.
Anna has helped students, alumni, faculty, and staff to consider alternate ways to dispose of their waste. She has had a lasting impact on Concordia University's approach to sustainability, and CUCCR is her living legacy.
Mark is an undergraduate student who started as the Office Coordinator at Sustainable Concordia (SC) in the summer of 2014. He has become the cornerstone of SC, helping to keep it running smoothly and maintaining communications between the Board of Directors and Coordinators Group. Through his involvement at SC he has also been an integral part in facilitating workshops such as Organizing Sustainability, which shapes new sustainability leaders.
In addition to his work with SC, Mark has been sitting on many sustainability committees and groups at the university including the Hive Growing Committee, the Dish Project and Divest Concordia. He has been active in supporting, promoting, and creating ways for students to get involved in many projects.
Mark is always compassionate, and giving of his time and resources. He puts in countless hours to ensure major projects, conferences, consultations, retreats, activities, and campaigns get off the ground and creates the dialogue needed for change. He has successfully and positively changed the level of student, staff and faculty engagement in sustainability issues across both campuses.
Shiann is a BA Student in First Peoples Studies and is an incredibly mature, articulate and effective leader. As part of her engagement, she founded the First Peoples Studies Member Association, and also served as the President for the association. While advocating for Indigenous students, she also has a keen awareness and understanding of the larger university context and a deep appreciation for working in a relational manner. Partly as a result of some of her advocacy efforts, the positions of Special Advisors to the Provost on Indigenous Directions were created. Shiann is now a member of the leadership group that convenes on a monthly basis with the Special Advisors.
Shiann is also involved in the First Voices Week, for which she volunteered in the past, and was one of the main organizers this year (2017).
Shiann is a wonderful advocate for Indigenous students at Concordia, and a key actor in the building of relationships with Indigenous communities, especially Kahnawake. Her work will leave an enduring legacy of social justice at Concordia, as she has put in place structures to represent Indigenous Students and First Peoples Studies students within the University community.