left to right: Burnaby councillor Dan Johnson, Erica Lay, associate director, SFU Sustainability Office, and Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan.

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SFU engagement process earns 2017 Environmental Star

May 30, 2017
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By Pegah Djamzad

Simon Fraser University has received a 2017 Environmental Star award from the City of Burnaby for the comprehensive planning and engagement process used to write the University’s first, community-developed 20-Year Sustainability Vision and Goals.

The year-long process, and the resulting vision and goals, support the City of Burnaby’s Environmental Sustainability Strategy (ESS), which aims to foster an environmentally aware and engaged community working to improve Burnaby’s environmental performance.

“As Canada’s leading engaged University, it was imperative that the visioning of SFU’s sustainable future was done in collaboration with the SFU community,” says Erica Lay, associate director of the University’s Sustainability Office.

The planning process, developed using the principles and framework established by the  International Association for Public Participation (IAP2), asked SFU students, staff, faculty and alumni to answer one simple question: “What would a sustainable SFU look and feel like in 20 years?”

More than 4,000 people engaged in the discussion.

“The 20-year Sustainability Vision and Goals reflect SFU’s broad and holistic definition of sustainability as encompassing social, economic and ecological sustainability,” says Lay.

The vision and goals set the stage for SFU’s next Five-Year Sustainability Strategic Plan. Scheduled for release later this year, the five-year plan will focus on short-term goals and concrete targets that incrementally move SFU towards achieving its 20-year vision.

Targets will not only focus on operational sustainability, but also on how SFU can leverage its unique position as a post-secondary institution to promote ecological, social and economic sustainability within Canada and beyond.

Says Lay, “It’s exciting to see that the 20-Year Sustainability Vision and Goals plan is already inspiring many in the community to incorporate its principles within their studies, research, work and passion.”