April 22, 2021

Changemakers recognized in UCalgary’s 2021 Sustainability Awards

Annual awards, announced today to mark Earth Day, celebrate sustainability leadership at UCalgary
Bita Malekian is the founder of Water Movement, a collaboration between students, creatives, and industry professionals to address the current water crisis in Indigenous communities.
Bita Malekian is among the list of recipients of UCalgary's 2021 Sustainability Award.

The pandemic isn’t the only global challenge we are facing in 2021. Income inequality, climate change, lack of accessibility — these issues directly impact our local communities in the push for progress and prosperity. However, leaders in sustainability are making great strides to strengthen our societies through creative solutions, both locally and beyond.

UCalgary’s annual Sustainability Awards, announced today to mark Earth Day, celebrate students, staff and faculty for their sustainability leadership across campus and the community.  

From addressing food insecurity to raising awareness of the importance of pollinators in Alberta, the awards focus on impact, innovation and collaborative efforts that advance the University of Calgary’s Institutional Sustainability Strategy and more broadly, the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals.

“These sustainability award winners demonstrate how the health of people and the planet are interconnected,” says UCalgary President Ed McCauley.

Their achievements not only show UCalgary’s commitment to sustainability, but also highlight the innovative and entrepreneurial spirit of our students, faculty and staff.

This year’s awards recognized efforts in six categories. The recipients for 2021 are: 

  • Undergraduate Student Sustainability Award
    • Calgary Community Fridge
      Mutual Aid project addressing food insecurity and eliminating food waste
  • Graduate Student Sustainability Award
    • Bita Malekian
      Water Movement venture improving water systems for Canadian Indigenous communities  
  • Staff Sustainability Award
    • Digital Bee Collection team
      Collaborative effort to digitize Albertan bee species to enhance public understanding of the importance of bee conservation on agricultural and urban landscapes and help UCalgary to earn a “bee university” designation
  • Sustainability Research Award
    • Dr. David Nicholas, PhD
      Developing a unique ecosystem model that targets employment capacity-building for those with neurodiversities, including autism
  • Sustainability Teaching Award 
    • David V. Wright
      Redesign of the Environmental Impact Assessment Law courses to include climate change, Indigenous perspectives and contributions to sustainability
  • Sustainability Experiential Learning Award
    • Zoology 435 team  
      Designing a course-based research experience that encourages experiential learning about the essential role of insects in maintaining functioning ecosystems in Alberta

In the midst of ongoing global challenges, these leaders continue to push the envelope in making UCalgary not just a more sustainable university, but a local and national contributor to sustainability progress.

“We’re proud of the exemplary work UCalgary members have achieved in advancing our sustainability strategy,” says Joanne Perdue, associate vice-president (sustainability). “The winners have highlighted some of the diverse ways that we can move forward in addressing the complex interdependencies between human and planetary health. This work demonstrates just some of what UCalgary has to offer to the community and the world at large.”

Find more information on UCalgary’s Sustainability Strategy.