There’s no shortage of opportunities for sustainability-minded students who want to make a positive impact on the planet to get involved at the University of Toronto.
From hands-on on-campus projects to volunteer opportunities and coursework, U of T students can deepen their knowledge, learn new skills, and engage in sustainability efforts — on campus and beyond.
“At U of T, there are so many ways for students to get involved and show leadership on sustainability issues,” said the professor. John Robinsonco-chair of the President’s Advisory Committee on Environment, Climate Change and Sustainability (CECCS).
“Student initiative and leadership have been crucial in influencing U of T’s responses to sustainability in the past and will be even more important in the future, helping to shape the university’s role in promoting of the transition to a sustainable world.
Sustainability initiatives at the U of T run the gamut from climate action to social justice and equity, in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (ODD). This broad definition of sustainability recognizes the intersectionality of challenges and highlights the importance of bringing diverse perspectives to address sustainability issues.
Here are some ways to get involved in sustainability at U of T:
Learn more about U of T’s sustainability initiatives
As the fall term begins, there’s no better way to get a crash course in sustainability at U of T than by visiting the Office of Sustainability booth at the Club Fair on the St. George campus on Sept. 7. If you can’t make it to Clubs Fair, follow @SustainableUofT and @UofTCECCS on Instagram to learn more about the initiatives and win prizes through social media giveaways. You can also follow the sustainability offices on U of T Scarborough and U of T Mississauga to learn more about sustainability efforts on these campuses.
The sustainability offices on all three campuses act as hubs for sustainability awareness and service and are dedicated to cultivating a culture of sustainability by drawing on the enthusiasm and skills of each local community. For example, the Sustainability Office on the St. George campus allows students who live in residence to follow sustainable practices and have their room, floor, or residence certified through the Sustainable Change Programs.
And Check out the University of Toronto’s sustainability homepage to learn more about the university’s flagship sustainability initiatives – including a commitment to divest from fossil fuel investments and its ambitious commitment to achieve a climate-friendly St. George campus by 2050. The latter includes the construction of a massive geothermal field under King’s College Circle – in connection with the Flagship project to revitalize the historic core of the St. George campus – this will help the U of T reduce emissions by 15,000 tonnes per year.
Courses and programs
Want to incorporate sustainability into your learning? The U of T offers more than 3,000 sustainability-focused courses that represent 30% of all undergraduate courses. View the Sustainability Course Inventory and search for campus and division offerings.
You can get involved in real-world challenges by signing up for one of the many “Campus as a living laboratory” and “Community Learning” courses, which help you contribute to sustainability initiatives at U of T or private and public sector partners. For example, in a Campus as a Living Lab course taught by Robinson, graduate students from the Munk School of Global Affairs & Public Policy last year explored a range of urban climate policy challenges on behalf of from the City of Toronto and the Atmospheric Fund. . To date, U of T students have completed more than 330 “Campus as a Living Lab” and “Community-Engaged Learning” projects.
The U of T also offers more than 100 graduate and doctoral programs with sustainability-related content, which can be found on the Inventory of Graduate Programs in Sustainability.
The U of T Sustainability Pathways Program helps you improve your skills and credentials through certificates and minors, extracurricular activities, and experiential learning.
There are three parts to the program:
- Become a sustainability researcher — and have the designation reflected on your transcript — by earning one of these certificates or minors:
Certificate in Sustainable Development (U of T Mississauga – to be launched in 2023)
- Establish yourself as a sustainability citizen by participating in extracurricular sustainability activities organized in partnership with the sustainability offices on all three campuses – and have the term “sustainability citizen” added to your U of T Extracurricular Record. The program is expected to launch later this fall (sign up for the monthly sustainability newsletter for more details)
- Stand out as a leader in sustainability by completing the Sustainability Scholar and Sustainability Citizen programs plus a capstone activity (this program is currently under development, so stay tuned for the development newsletter durable for updates when available)
Student groups and clubs
Did you know that there are over 240 student groups, clubs, societies, unions and associations at the U of T whose mandates align with one or more of the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals? View the Sustainability Student Groups Inventory to browse them all.
Ready to take on a leadership role? Consider setting yourself up for the Institutional Strategic Initiative (ISI) Student Advisory Committee [email protected] of Twhere you can help advance the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals at U of T.
You can also participate in one of four CECCS sub-committees – teaching and learning; to research; operations; and engagement and partnerships.
Get funding for your sustainability project
The directory Adams Sustainability Celebration offers several funding opportunities for students with a demonstrated interest in sustainability. They understand the $5,000 Adams Sustainability Student Grants for students working to advance sustainability on campus and $25,500 in funding for innovative student-led projects and start-ups through the Adams Prize for Sustainable Innovation Competition. You can also claim up to $300 in funding for student-led activities which will be part of the Adams Sustainability Celebration lineup.
If you are an undergraduate summer researcher working on a topic related to climate or sustainability, you can apply for a Positive Climate Energy Summer Undergraduate Research Program prize worth $5,000.
Stay informed about sustainability events throughout the year
The best way to make sure you don’t miss any sustainability events is to keep an eye out for Tri-Campus Sustainability Calendar. Attendance at all events listed in the calendar will earn you credits for the Sustainability Citizen program.
Are you organizing an event on sustainable development? Submit your event to be included in the calendar and attract more interest and participants.