Uplifting People And Planet


In 2018, a new approach to sustainability at the University of Alberta was announced by the Vice-President (Facilities and Operations) and the Deputy Provost. The announcement set in motion the establishment of the Sustainability Council. Taking ownership for the university’s academic sustainability initiatives, we launched in time for the 2018–19 school year.

This annual report looks back on what we've accomplished in our first year. Our team had to gel quickly and we need to establish a strategic direction while continuing to run many of the best programs from the Office of Sustainability. Adjustments were needed to meet the new academic mission, but it took time to learn how. While there were some growing pains, this report shows that we successfully reoriented our offering and achieved tremendous growth in key programs.

The events that the Office of Sustainability was so well known for have continued to flourish: Sustainability Awareness Week, the Student Sustainability Summit, and a speaker series with the City of Edmonton and MacEwan University. The Certificate in Sustainability was given the attention and resources needed to grow significantly. In Fall 2018 and Winter 2019, the certificate enrolment rate doubled, and two new faculties were brought into the program.

In addition, the council has begun to lay groundwork for future growth. We are ready to grasp opportunities to collaborate (on campus or beyond), to suppport new experiential learning programs, and to tell the story of campus sustainability on a larger scale.

Thank you for joining us at the outset of this exciting journey. As we wrap up our inaugural year, the Sustainability Council has the energy and the momentum to champion the University of Alberta’s sustainability commitments and help our community lead in building a better world.

View annual report

Stories from 2018–19

James Balog - Seeing intensely

Amy Luers - Bringing together unlikely partners for global sustainability

Ranon Soans - On the front lines of urban resilience

Vada Antonakis - Protecting heritage in the face of climate change

Meryn Severson - Measuring social sustainability in affordable housing

Videos from 2018–19

We’re flushing away more than we think

Nicholas Ashbolt explains the unsustainability of our sewers, and the smart fixes that can save agriculture, halve our energy use, and improve public health!

Lianne Lefsrud on Alberta’s capacity to rapidly transition to renewable energy

Fractious pipeline politics dominate Alberta's news these days, but this debate could hide a latent and growing desire for innovation on clean energy. As Lianne Lefsrud sees it, Alberta's forward-thinking spirit means we could transition to renewable energy much faster than many expect.

Experience what it means to live sustainably

When Mary Beckie switched from bio-tech to organic farming, she also re-evaluated her own lifestyle. As someone who teaches sustainability, was she doing enough to experience it herself?

That’s how things change politically, socially and economically

Cindy Gaudet returned to her ancestral home in Saskatchewan for a major community-based research project on Metis women's wellness. She explains how women gathering and visiting creates transformative change in her community. And what lessons can be drawn for building community back in the halls of the academy.

What every university graduate should know about sustainability

How can we lift the sustainable living conditions for everyone, if we're not talking about social stratification? For Naomi Krogman, inequality is a key factor in sustainability that every university graduate should understan.