SFU-led projects

Sustainability and climate action plan monthly spotlight: Advancement and Alumni Engagement

October 17, 2023

Throughout the year, Simon Fraser University (SFU) is highlighting each of the six goals within the 2022-2025 Strategic Sustainability and Climate Action Plan. With six goals and 18 actions, the plan puts SFU on the path towards net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. It also sets SFU's aspirations for our impact in local, regional, national and global communities. Resilience and sustainability are core values within What's Next: The SFU Strategy, and reflects SFU’s commitment to advancing the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

This month features Goal 6: Advancement and Alumni Engagement. Goal 6 embeds sustainability thinking in all operations of the department targeting SFU donors, staff, faculty and alumni and various philanthropic programs and themes as applicable by the new comprehensive campaign.

“Addressing the mounting climate crisis and the myriad of intersecting challenges our society faces today requires collective action,” says Erin Morantz, vice-president, advancement and alumni engagement, whose portfolio is accountable for this goal.

“Within Advancement and Alumni Engagement (AAE), we’re doing our part to further the university’s sustainability goals while engaging with SFU’s diverse alumni and donor communities. AAE’s efforts have resulted in raising funds that support students and researchers studying the environment and sustainability, the transition to clean energy, and more. We are also generating support and awareness of vital research being done by SFU researchers on our critical ecosystems, and climate innovation. Whether it’s through alumni and donor events and communications, campaign planning, or our day-to-day operations, we’re activating sustainability in all we do.”

Taking action

Below are just a few highlights of the many ways AAE is incorporating sustainability throughout our portfolio. We’re taking action by:

Enthusiastically pursuing fundraising initiatives that support sustainability.

Examples include a generous bequest from SFU alumnus Kenneth Cawker that provides vital funding for students in the Faculty of the Environment. Other examples include funding for impactful projects at SFU, like Dr. Anne Salomon’s kelp system science project within the School of Resource and Environmental Management. AAE is also proud to facilitate collaboration with numerous private, corporate and government, and philanthropic organizations at the Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue. With broad support, the Wosk Centre is able to cover an impressive range of topics and speakers whose expertise revolve around research, policy on climate action and solutions, urban sustainability, and more.

Amplifying SFU’s progress and commitment to sustainability throughout our donor or alumni communications as well as stewardship and engagement initiatives.

Whether it’s through our monthly SFU Alumni eNews or Engage, our biennial magazine the impact of philanthropy at SFU, we are sharing SFU’s progress on sustainability widely.

Reducing our operational carbon footprint and waste.

In all our events—whether alumni, donor or stewardship events, staff meetings or socials—AAE encourages the use of public transit and/or carpooling. We use locally-sourced catering whenever possible and almost 100 per cent digital event invitations. AAE has also transitioned to primarily digital formats for nearly all donor and alumni communications, contributing to significantly reduced waste in our department overall. This includes pivoting to paperless distribution of communications to donors, including tax receipting, regulatory reporting.

For more details, please visit the Goal 6 web page on the SFU Sustainability website.

Activating sustainability at SFU with donors, alumni and the broader community 

Learn more about the VPAAE portfolio at give.sfu.ca and www.sfu.ca/alumni