To formally recognize the contributions of those helping meet the University of Alberta's sustainability goals, and in celebration of Earth Day, an annual award is granted to those in the university community demonstrating their commitment to sustainability.
Winners exemplify the university’s continuing efforts to build a socially, environmentally and economically sustainable future for our institution. They are leading the way in how our campus operates, the services we provide, the way we teach, and strengthening the fabric of campus life and community. Winners are selected by an impartial jury based on an assessment of their dedication, impact and leadership.
Kabir Nadkarni, student
Kabir is an Engineering Physics and Interdisciplinary Leadership Studies student who has demonstrated great philanthropic efforts in the area of sustainability. Through his involvement on campus and within the local community, he has demonstrated a clear passion for making his local community a better place. This young man is very accomplished in many aspects of sustainability. His work spans engaging students by teaching them to solve environmental problems with their engineering skills through his ZeroPlan zero-emissions UAV drones student group to exploring solar options for Edmonton’s City Hall. He has contributed extensive work related to energy production within Edmonton as well through his internship work on the Alberta Community Solar Guide. Kabir’s leadership in sustainability reminds us that our contributions great or small can have a significant impact on our future.
Juanita Gnanapragasam, student & staff
Juanita is a Teaching Fellow at the Peter Lougheed Leadership College and a Masters of Public Health student. Juanita’s work directly influenced the rollout of the Certificate in Sustainability on campus. Her work is commendable and demonstrates sustainable leadership, dedication, and creativity. She is highly recognized by students for her work with the Sustainable Food Working Group, which she joined to address food insecurities among students.
Her work includes grocery buses and various free cooking classes, which help to remove barriers for international students and residents that struggle with preparing nutritious meals. Juanita’s efforts recognise the diversity of our students and focus on student mentorship and empowerment. Her work has a tangible positive impact on the campus community.
Joan E. Greer, faculty
Joan is a History of Art, Design and Visual Culture professor. Since 2001, Joan has taught “The History and Theory of Sustainable Design” course. Joan’s efforts provide meaningful learning opportunities for students. Her work is far-reaching and fosters ongoing excellence in her students who have gone on to work in various areas of sustainability.
Joan is one of the founding committee members of the Faculty of Arts/ALES Environmental Studies Programme, and is one of two instructors invited to act as a mentor in the University of Alberta’s Green Instructors certificate program. Hers is a steadfast voice in environmental research and advocacy, and she is perhaps most recognized on campus for her ground-breaking and ongoing work in sustainable design pedagogy. Her local and international recognition is evidence of the impact she has in this field. Joan is simply an inspiration and a trailblazer for sustainable pedagogy.
Exemplary Green Spaces
Biological Services in the Department of Chemistry
Gareth Lambkin manages this lab and has been a consistent sustainability leader in his area. Gareth is always more than willing to show visitors the way this lab is set up and the sustainability systems embedded in its function. With a grant from the Sustainability Enhancement Fund, this lab invested in a water cycling system for their cold room. By recovering this previously wasted water, the university is saving 438,000 L of water, almost $1,000 a year, and is recovering heat from the water for use elsewhere in the building. This lab also purchased an Ultra Low Temperature freezer of competitively high efficiency, reducing their electricity demand significantly. And as the UAlberta winner of the 2017 North American Freezer Challenge, they have demonstrated their commitment to responsible and sustainable freezer management.
This vendor, managed by Roel Canafranca and Ariel Del Rosario, is the very first Gold certified vendor. Filistix's dishware and utensils are BPI certified compostable. They are the only certified vendor on campus that has entirely eliminated styrofoam and plastic in their takeaway containers. All condiments are served in bulk, rather than individual packaging. Their rotating menu tries to follow seasonal vegetables, and much of their meat is locally sourced. They provide many alternative diet options, always including a vegetarian option, as well as vegan, halal, and gluten free. Filistix produces very little food waste, as they usually sell out by the end of each afternoon. This is also due to careful planning and research, showing a dedication to waste reduction.
Institute for Stuttering Treatment and Research, Edmonton
ISTAR first earned Green Spaces certification in 2015 and has diligently improved their certification ever since. The office's Green Space champion, Marlo DeVouge, has participated in the program in many different ways, including helping with a video profile earlier this year. Although ISTAR has not yet reached Gold certification, the rigour with which they assess their space and the growth they show from year to year demonstrates their understanding of sustainability as a process and not a destination more clearly than most spaces on campus.
Modern Languages and Cultural Studies Graduate Student Conference
This conference has been Gold certified for three straight years, most recently under the leadership of Amelia Hall. Their thoughtful and specific innovative actions are frequently cited by other events aiming for Gold certification. Attendees are encouraged to donate to purchase carbon offsets for out-of-town speakers. Name tags are printed on seed paper so that attendees can take them home to grow a variety of plants. This unique way of making an item of waste into an item of production demonstrates the innovative spirit of renewal we hope all events strive for.
All University of Alberta students, academic staff and support staff are welcome to be nominated, either as groups (both informal or formal) or as individuals. Nominees may contribute primarily through: teaching and learning; facilities, operations and services; or outreach and university life.
Nominations may be made by any student, academic staff or support staff. Self-nominations are also encouraged. Nominators may submit more than one nomination.
In order to recognize a diversity of initiatives and accomplishments at the University of Alberta, winners from previous years are not considered.
Nominations are evaluated by a small committee convened annually by the university's chief sustainability officer. The committee consists of faculty, staff and students. Learn more about the nomination process.
- Breadth and scope of the nominee's contribution to advancing environmental, social or economic sustainability at the University of Alberta. Nominators are encouraged to try to quantify the people engaged, the environmental and social benefit, etc.
- Innovation and originality of their contribution.
- Long-term dedication and/or significant time investment.
- Influence over peers and ability to engage new participants in campus sustainability.