Got a great idea for a social or environmental research initiative?
What do you think would make Concordia more socially or environmentally sustainable?
If you’re doing research or coursework on these themes and believe it could have an impact on the university, you're eligible to apply for a Sustainability Research Award.
The initiative is a partnership between the Sustainability Action Fund (SAF), the Faculty of Arts and Science and the Faculty of Fine Arts. Successful undergraduate recipients receive a scholarship of $800. For graduate students, the amount is $1,500. The application period opens February 18 and the deadline to apply is March 22.
“This is our third year offering these awards and we’re eager to see what sustainability-minded students are working on through their various fields of study,” says Sebastián Di Poi, SAF executive director.
“When we receive the applications, it’s always intriguing to see how students in different faculties and departments are integrating sustainability into their research.”
How to apply
To be considered for the awards, students must complete an application which describes their research topic.
“The recipients are selected based on the innovation and critical thinking of their proposed research, the potential for their research to advance sustainability at Concordia and the clarity of the proposal,” Di Poi explains.
Last year, the 13 selected research projects spanned various themes in sustainability including waste, food systems, social justice, energy, technology and resources.
If the research project tackles lowering Concordia’s greenhouse gas emissions, applicants are eligible for an additional $1,500 of funding from the Éric St-Pierre Sustainability Student Project Fund.
mind. heart. mouth.
Curious about what kind of projects get selected? Last year, Andrea Tremblay, a media studies graduate student from the Faculty of Arts and Science submitted a project called “mind. heart. mouth.” It explores how gardening and urban agriculture can promote environmental advocacy in students for the long term.
“The research-creation project explores how touching and manipulating soil and edible plants can be used to encourage participants to reflect on their connection with these essential elements and therefore nature,” Tremblay says.
Her research came to fruition last spring when she began using garden space on Loyola Campus. She was also awarded the Éric St-Pierre Sustainability Student Project Fund.
The mind. heart. mouth. gardens were a huge success, providing hands-on learning and knowledge transfer to Concordia students and the larger community.
“This research project was a tangible and sustainable initiative for Concordia,” Di Poi notes.
“Not only was gardening knowledge transferred to students, but the crops were also donated to other on-campus sustainability initiatives, such as the Hive Loyola Free Lunch program. Now that the garden beds are built, the students can keep using this space to learn and contribute to sustainability at Concordia.”
The Sustainability Research Awards also aim to recognize and promote students who are doing socially sustainable research. Last year, Julia Maksymetz, an undergraduate student in the Département d’études françaises, won for her research into the effects of language on gender non-conforming and queer people.
The research looked at gender-neutral French as a way of fostering inclusivity and a means of shifting cultural conceptions of gender among French speakers.
Maksymetz explains why she sees this as an issue of social sustainability.
“Gender-neutral French is a vital step in the creation of greater social visibility and understanding for gender non-conforming, non-binary and queer people living and speaking French at Concordia.”
Her research will be transformed into the publication of a zine with the idea of making it more accessible to the Concordia community.
Think your sustainable idea would be awesome in practice? Apply for Concordia's Sustainability Research Award by March 22!