2020 President’s Award for Leadership in Sustainability winners announced

February 26, 2020
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Each year SFU President Andrew Petter recognizes a select group of SFU sustainability champions from among those nominated for outstanding leadership in advancing sustainability within, and beyond, the university. This year’s exceptional winners have advanced community understanding of sustainability; promoted sustainability practices and processes; and led by example through their environmental and/or social sustainability activities.

Meet this year’s winners:

Vancouver catering Request for Proposal (RFP) Steering Committee (group winner)

In August 2018, staff members from various SFU departments formed the Vancouver Catering RFP Steering Committee to support local, social and Indigenous enterprises interested in becoming contract caterers for the Vancouver campus. With input from the steering committee, SFU adapted its procurement procedures to develop a more accessible application process for these enterprises, while still aligning with the university’s goals and initiatives, and the needs of the SFU community. As a result, staff in the Meeting, Event and Conferences Services (MECS) office at the Vancouver office are now pleased to support:

  • H.A.V.E Culinary Training Society an organization that provides foodservice training and opportunities to individuals who experience barriers to employment;
  • Tayybeh, a company supporting Syrian women chefs, especially those who are new to the country;
  • Cedar Feast, an Indigenous catering company located in the Downtown Eastside; and
  • East Van Roasters; a social enterprise supplying coffee and chocolate that supports at-risk community members.

The steering committee, working alongside SFU Procurement Services, has made a significant contribution to SFU’s commitment to growing sustainability efforts across its campuses.

TumblerShare (group winner)

TumblerShare is a student-led reusable tumbler program that encourages the SFU community to stop using disposable coffee cups, which are a major environmental challenge. The program operates at SFU’s Renaissance Coffee locations in the AQ and Applied Sciences. Anyone can sign up to become a member via the TumblerShare website (there is a $15 refundable deposit to pay). TumblerShare has diverted more than 300 disposable coffee cups from the landfill since 2018 and has just launched a new smartphone app that allows users to borrow a tumbler. It also tracks participation. TumblerShare is the first tech-enabled cup-sharing program to be implemented at a Canadian university campus. TumblerShare has grown from an idea germinated by two students to a team of 15 people who will continue working to reduce disposable coffee cups at SFU.

Joanna Ashworth (staff winner)

Joanna Ashworth is the director of professional programs and partnerships in the Faculty of Environment. Among her many climate-change projects and programs, she leads the North Shore Rain Garden Project through the faculty’s Pacific Water Research Centre. The project works with local communities and municipalities to expand the use of green infrastructure for managing the impacts of extreme weather events and storm water surges associated with climate change. To date, the project has built two community demonstration rain gardens, in Horseshoe Bay’s Douglas Park (West Vancouver) and in the parking lot of Capilano Mall (North Vancouver). She produced two films featuring these rain gardens and has curated resources that are available on the faculty’s website. Ashworth ‘walks the sustainability talk’ beyond her work at SFU. She recently produced and directed a documentary film called "Women Bending the Curve on Climate Change”. It captures the stories of climate change leaders from Canada’s West Coast who are working in renewable energy, city government, energy conservation, community engagement, sustainable food, finance and Indigenous land stewardship. The film has been screened and delivered to many audiences around North America. Known for her work in dialogue and democratic engagement, she also delivered a TEDx talk on "Growing Democracy: Lessons from the Farm”, based on her permaculture experiences on her farm in Gibsons, B.C.  

Meghan Winters (faculty winner)

Health sciences professor Meghan Winters leads the Cities, Health and Activity Transportation Research lab (CHATR), where researchers aim to understand how community design impacts the ways in which people get around and connect with each other. Her research focuses on advocating for active transportation, specifically cycling, in urban environments. She has worked with municipalities across Canada to promote safe and healthy community design. Her work has influenced public investments in improving infrastructure for active transport in Vancouver and elsewhere. She has also influenced policies such as Vancouver’s Transport 2040 and the BC Active Transportation Strategy, and developed a number of SFU courses, including a CityStudio-partnered course on Health and the Built Environment. Winters’ research increases our awareness and understanding of the connection between public health, cities and sustainability. 

Leejoo Hwang (student winner)

Leejoo Hwang is an undergraduate student from SFU’s Sustainable Business program. He demonstrates outstanding commitment to projects and organizations that advance the triple bottom line of ecological, social and economic sustainability. Hwang’s work as a sustainability ambassador began when he founded the Local Development Group, dedicated to environmental awareness and community change-making at Fraser Heights Secondary School. This initiative has since expanded across the Lower Mainland. Since joining SFU, Hwang dedicates his time to sustainability programs on campus, such as Enactus SFU, and to off-campus groups such as the Surrey Diversity Advisory Committee. Hwang worked as a youth facilitator for the Experiences Canada program, which led to his participation in a national conference to help the federal government develop Canada’s first youth policy. Hwang now sits as a youth advisor for both Health Canada and the RCMP.

This story originally appeared in SFU News.