Program & Speakers

The Student Sustainability Summit's program is designed by a committee of students which is chaired by Sustain SU.

View full program on Google Docs



9–9:50 a.m. Registration and Breakfast La Connexional -
Warm-up Dance Workshop
10–10:50 a.m.

Welcome and Opening Keynote with Eriel Tchekwie Deranger

“Climate Justice, Indigenous Rights and Responses to the Climate Emergency”

11–Noon Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society - Communal Sustainability Waste Free Edmonton - Stopping Waste at the Source Sustainability in  Academia
Noon–1:50 p.m. Lunch Involvement Fair Mav Adecer -
Last Days on Krypton
1:50–2:50 p.m. Energy Management and Sustainable Operations - What Does Fair Trade Really Mean? Alberta Public Interest Research Group and Climate Justice Edmonton - Roots and Resistance Macey Edem Nortey - The Public Health Impacts of Climate Change
3–4 p.m. Institute for Sexual Minority Studies and Services - Gay Straight Alliances and Social Sustainability Goodwill Industries of Alberta - The Role of Thrift Stores in the Circular Economy University of Alberta EcoCar - The Role of Hydrogen in a Sustainable Future
4:10–4:50 p.m.

Closing Keynote with Dr. Wanda Costen and Final Remarks

“A Sustainable Future in the Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Context”

5:30–8 p.m.

Post-Summit Hangout in Dewey's bistro-pub (North Power Plant, University of Alberta).

Speaker biographies

Eriel Tchekwie Deranger

Eriel Tchekwie Deranger is a Denesuline Indigenous woman, and mother of two. She is a member of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation, Treaty 8 Northern Alberta. Deranger is the Executive Director and co-founder of Indigenous Climate Action (ICA) - an Indigenous-led climate justice organization. Prior to her work with ICA, Deranger spent 6 years working for her First Nation to build out one of the largest intersectional and powerful keep in the ground campaigns on the planet - the international Indigenous Tar Sands campaign challenging the expansion of Alberta's Tar Sands, one of the world's dirtiest fossil fuels. 

Deranger is recognized for her role in creating the UN Indigenous Youth Caucus; interventions at UN Climate Summits; lobbying government officials in Canada, the US, the UK and the EU; developing the Tar Sands Healing Walk in the heart of Alberta's tar sands; spring boarding one of the first Internationally recognized Indigenous rights-based divest movements; and working to develop and lead mass mobilizations highlighting the mass inequity of the impacts the fossil fuel industry and climate change on the rights of Indigenous peoples. Eriel now sits on the board of WWF Canada, Bioneers Network and the UK Tar Sands Network and works towards building intersectional dialogue between Indigenous rights and other social justice movements nationally and internationally.

Wanda Costen
Dr. Wanda M. Costen earned her Ph. D. in sociology from Washington State University. She also has an Executive MBA from Pepperdine University and her undergraduate degree is from the United States Military Academy at West Point. She is currently Professor, and Dean of the School of Business at MacEwan University. Dr. Costen’s research interests include managing diversity, racial and gender inequality in organizations, women and leadership, and strategic human resources. Dr. Costen has partnered with business and public organizations to help them develop diversity initiatives and training programs. She also has ten years of business management experience in sales, operations, and human resources.
Alberta Public Interest Research Group
APIRG is a student-funded campus organization that supports education, research and action in the public interest.
Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society

The Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS) is Canada’s only nationwide charity dedicated solely to the protection of our public land and water, and ensuring our parks are managed to protect the nature within them. In the past 50+ years, CPAWS played a lead role in protecting over half a million square kilometres – an area bigger than the entire Yukon Territory. CPAWS Northern Alberta has championed the protection of Alberta’s diverse natural heritage since its establishment in 1968 as the first regional chapter.

Quin Jackson-Buck is a Two-Spirited Nehiyaw, from Onihcikiskwapiwinihk, (Saddle Lake), AB, who’s work centres Indigenous knowledge systems and cultures, while creating space for social innovation to take place. Quin is also both a photographer and facilitator, who works with various organizations in Edmonton to bring awareness to their communities goals. Their pronouns are they/them. Community Climate Ambassador with CPAWS.

Climate Justice Edmonton
Climate Justice Edmonton is a volunteer-run collective fighting for good work, Indigenous rights, and a liveable future on Treaty 6 territory.

Willow Dew is a fourth year chemical engineering student with an interest in sustainable energy that she has developed through her 3 years of involvement with the EcoCar team. As the incoming project manager of the team, she hopes to promote education about developing renewable alternatives and continue to share EcoCar’s message of sustainability with the community.

Jana Benade is a second year mechanical engineering student who has a passion for sustainability and actively expanding her education through project work in EcoCar. In her free time, she loves to do creative writing and playing piano.

Energy Management and Sustainable Operations

Shannon Leblanc is a program coordinator for Energy Management and Sustainable Operations (EMSO) at the University of Alberta. She works across the Facilities and Operations portfolio and beyond to improve the sustainability of the university’s operations on a wide range of topics such as waste diversion, GHG emissions, the campus food system, active transportation and sustainable purchasing. She devotes much of her spare time to food, trying out new recipes and exploring local restaurants.

Goodwill Industries of Alberta

Mortimer Capriles currently works for Goodwill Industries of Alberta as their Director of Sustainability and Innovation. In this role, he is responsible for leading the Goodwill’s Sustainability Action Plan across the enterprise and championing community buy-in and support.

Previously, Mortimer worked for Fairmont Hotels and Resorts as their Regional Director of Sustainability where he was responsible for leading all sustainability initiatives across Fairmont’s Canadian Western Mountain Region.

Mortimer holds an MBA, a Bachelor’s Degree in Geography, and several postgraduate certificates related to sustainability, environmental planning and leadership. He also holds the Environmental Professional certification (EP) and the Global Sustainability Practitioner certification (CSR-P).
Institute for Sexual Minority Studies & Services

The Institute for Sexual Minority Studies and Services (iSMSS) brings together education, research, policy development, and community services in order to ensure that sexual and gender minorities (SGM) recognized and well served by their communities.

Dr. Glynnis Lieb has a PhD in Social and Personality Psychology. She has taught and worked in the mental health and addiction field for almost two decades. She also has been involved in organized labour and social activism since she was a teenager. She has been active in the LGBTQ2S+ community since she began university; first in Manitoba and now in Alberta.

Avery Edwards (they/them) is a white settler and youth organizer born on Treaty 6 territory with a background in labour studies. Today, the bulk of their labour and leadership is in working with queer and trans youth to develop their skills and capacities as community organizers. Avery is a member of PYROS (The Prairie Youth Radical Organizing School) as a youth worker and popular educator. They live with their chosen family in Garneau.
Macey Edem Nortey
Macey Edem Nortey (she/her) has acquired a bachelor of science focused on public health, and a masters degree focused on community planning and health promotion. Macey is currently devising a thesis in emergency health services, examining public health disaster recovery.
Mav Adecer
Mav Adecer is an Edmonton based comedian and cartoonist who grew up in the Philippines and did a lot of growing all over Canada. He has written and performed No Allegiances at the Lethbridge Fringe and Edmonton's Nextfest, and Last Days on Krypton at last summer's Edmonton Fringe.
UAlberta Academic Panel

Dr. Laurie Adkin is a professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Alberta. Her main areas of research and teaching are political ecology, the populist radical right in Europe, and Alberta politics. Her 1998 book, Politics of Sustainable Development: Citizens, Unions, and the Corporations, studied the struggle to regulate toxic chemicals affecting the Great Lakes Basin. In her 2009 book, Environmental Conflict and Democracy in Canada, she identified the ways in which democracy must be extended to achieve a socially just, ecologically sustainable society. In ongoing work that is captured by her 2016 book, First World Petro-Politics: The Political Ecology and Governance of Alberta, she has studied the political-economy of climate change policy in Alberta and Canada.

Dr. Carlos Fiorentino is a visual communication designer, educator and researcher, whose main interest is designing for sustainability and biomimicry. He teaches at the University of Alberta and at MacEwan University, and is currently conducting SSHRC-funded research on structural colour. He is co-founder of the Biomimicry Alberta regional network. In 2010, he introduced the first interdisciplinary undergraduate course focused on design for sustainability in the University of Alberta’s Department of Human Ecology. He has worked professionally in the visual communication design field for twenty five years, and is co-founder of Pix Design in Buenos Aires, Argentina. 

Dr. Lisa Stein is a professor of biological sciences in the Faculty of Science at the University of Alberta. Her work focuses on the numerous and diverse pathways of inorganic nitrogen and single carbon metabolism in bacteria and archaea. Her research is to track the evolution of nitrogen metabolism, predict how and when deleterious nitrogen oxide products are released to the environment, and define linkages between methane and nitrogen metabolism. Single carbon metabolism are intimately connected to the biogeochemical nitrogen cycle. By interrogating the linkages between single carbon and nitrogen metabolism, her research can enable us to harness microorganisms to generate commercially viable bioproducts using single-carbon waste streams as feedstocks.

Dr. Anne-Jose Villeneuve is an assistant professor of French linguistics at Campus Saint-Jean and an associate professor in the Department of Linguistics at the University of Alberta. Her research focuses on linguistic variation and change, bilingualism, language contact and the teaching of languages. Having grown up in the Montreal area, she is proud of her Quebecois and Haitian origins.

Dr. John Wolodko is the Alberta Innovates Strategic Chair in Bio and Industrial Materials, and an associate professor in the Faculty of Agricultural, Life and Environmental Sciences at the University of Alberta. His research focuses on the development of sustainable materials from agricultural and forestry feedstocks, and on environmental life cycle assessment. He is the former executive director of Alberta Innovates – Technology Futures (AITF), and has over 20 years of research, development and management experience in the areas of new technologies, advanced materials, manufacturing, testing and engineering design.
Waste Free Edmonton

Melissa Gorrie is a lawyer that has worked on environmental issues for the last decade - representing clients in court, working with government on law and policy reform, and running environmental campaigns. She has volunteered with numerous environmental and social justice organizations over the years. Most recently, she co-founded Edmonton Climate Hub and Waste Free Edmonton.

She started Waste Free Edmonton as a way to counter the frustration and sadness she feels in seeing the vast amount of waste produced in her community. Melissa has helped develop several Waste Free Edmonton campaigns focused on tackling the proliferation of single-use plastics items, including the Last Straw Campaign, which in almost 100 Edmonton businesses agreeing to go straw-free. She is also currently completing her Master of Laws, where she is exploring the role of environmental regulation in addressing consumptive behaviour.