Program Coordinator, Alberta Ecotrust Foundation
Board Member for Camrose-based not-for-profit organization Newo Global Energy
by Pam Chamberlain, submitted 2017
Simon Irving grew up in Calgary and chose Augustana for the opportunity to earn a U of A degree while playing ACAC basketball. While Simon embraced the role of point guard and captain of the Vikings men’s team, it was his Augustana education that shaped his career.
“My professors cared about me on a personal level and cared about my success,” Simon says. “They gave us an opportunity to work with local businesses in our management classes, and they extended our classroom learning out into the community.”
However, Simon’s most memorable classes were not in business. “My senior-level liberal-arts classes challenged my ingrained assumptions and gave me a broader perspective of the world,” he says. In a directed reading with Dr. Dittmar Mündel, Simon’s project focused on hydraulic fracturing, and he helped organize a conference that turned into the annual Spirit of the Land gathering, now in its sixth year. For his campus contributions, Simon earned the Onesimus Award (recognizing a student’s service to the well-being of Augustana), Alberta’s Laurence Decore Award (for outstanding student leadership), and the Battle River Leader of Tomorrow Award.
Upon graduation, Simon sought an international graduate program that would prepare him to work in the environmental sector. He settled on Uppsala University in Sweden. “I was nervous,” Simon remembers. “I thought, ‘Am I really qualified for this program?’”
He soon realized he was. “I’m impressed with the way Augustana prepared me for grad school. I’d learned critical thinking, communication skills, and the ability to look at the world through different lenses—skills I was able to apply in my program.” In 2015, Simon earned an MSc (Honours) in business and economics, focusing on sustainable management.
Now back in Calgary, Simon works in the environmental sector as a program coordinator for the Alberta Ecotrust Foundation. At the Foundation he helps develop and deliver charitable environmental programs across the province. The heart of his work is supporting the people and projects that address Alberta’s most pressing environmental issues. “I love that I wake up every day knowing my work aligns with my values,” he says. “We are working to create a different future and a better world.”
Simon is also a board member for a new Camrose-based not-for-profit organization founded by a group of Augustana alumni. Newo Global Energy provides responsible energy options such as solar installations, and it also offers education, encourages energy literacy, and promotes community building.
“My involvement with Newo keeps me tied to the Camrose community, which I love. With this organization, we’re trying to provide sustainable energy in a manner that promotes the health of communities and ecosystems at the same time.”
Simon’s decision to attend Augustana set him on this path. “Augustana opened my eyes to world,” he says. “Now, I am privileged to do meaningful work that allows me to live out my values and make a difference. I’m immensely grateful.”