Environment grad helps shake up SFU sustainability efforts

May 27, 2022

Russell Dunsford is graduating with a Bachelor of Environment in Resource and Environmental Management after making waves in SFU sustainability practices.

Russell grew up on B.C.’s Sunshine Coast, accustom to diverse wildlife and plenty of space to hike, camp and enjoy the outdoors. “I knew I wanted a job that would give me the opportunity to work outside in these small communities,” says Russell.

When looking into universities, Russell noted the unique offerings and broad specializations of SFU’s Faculty of Environment and found that REM aligned with his appreciation of nature and future goals.

On campus, Russell took up a position on the SFSS’s Board of Directors where he planned student events, impacted policy decisions, and worked to understand the administrative processes of the university.

Along the way, Russell encountered the Ban the Bottle initiative, a group of several SFU community members campaigning for the removal of disposable water bottles on campus.

“The team was pretty small at the time, so I joined them and we started advocating to SFU for a plastic water bottle ban,” says Russell.

After months of collaboration between SFU administration, Ancillary Services, the Sustainability Office, and other student groups, SFU enacted the Re-Use for Good Committee; a multi-lateral plan to eliminate all single use plastics across SFU.

“The plan went beyond what we were asking for. It was really exciting to see that the university was interested in being a leader in that field and that we were going to get to be a part of it,” says Russell.

Russell remains committed to the project as he leaves SFU and has continued his GIS work with Ancillary Services to determine how best to make water bottle and refill stations accessible.

“When we decided to phase out water bottles it meant that everyone needs to be able to access reusable water bottles and a place to fill those bottles… It was certainly a great experience to be able to be on the ground working with the GIS tools in a real applied setting,” says Russell.

Coming full circle, Russell is moving back to the Sunshine Coast this summer to work with WildsafeBC as a Community Coordinator, educating the community on human wildlife conflict.


Visit the Faculty of Environment Virtual Convocation page to read the Dean's message and other convocation features. 

Faculty of Environment virtual convocation