Sustainable Opportunities in Co-operative Education

Sustainable Opportunities in Co-operative Education

By: Paul DeGrace
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The Faculty of Environment Co-op Program at SFU offers many opportunities for students to work in positions related to sustainability. Geography and Environmental Science students have been employed by local municipalities, energy utilities, mining industry, and private companies to manage and promote their sustainability initiatives. Typically these positions involve a lot of public outreach, marketing and communications, and project management. Co-op students in these positions are involved in projects such as water and power conservation, waste management, recycling, and facilities management.

Some common tasks and skills required in this field include:

  • Undertaking pilot studies, developing and delivering waste reduction public outreach programs
  • Assisting with collection and analysis of data, and creating reports and maps using GIS
  • Conducting field inspections, responding to customer inquiries, and assisting in carrying out waste audits

These positions can be very rewarding for students with a passion for environmental issues, and they offer students an opportunity to apply their academic knowledge to real world problems. Coming up with workable solutions is not always as easy as one might think, as employers often struggle with "buy-in" from their clients or community. Excellent written and verbal communication, organizational, GIS, and multi-tasking skills are often put to the test as students and organizations try to develop new sustainable initiatives.

Not a Faculty of Environment student but considering joining Co-op? Any career can integrate sustainability!

For more information and resources to get you started follow or vist SFU Co-operative Education:


Paul DeGrace is the Co-op Coordinator for the Faculty of Environment. He has a diverse background with includes GIS, Environmental Science, publishing, systems administration, and cartography. In addition to his current role at SFU, he is also a Media & Communications Officer in the Royal Canadian Marine - Search & Rescue.

Posted on January 29, 2013