Nov. 7, 2023

UCalgary’s 2023 Institutional Sustainability Report: Nurturing transformative leaders of tomorrow

Students inspired by entrepreneurial thinking and intercultural competencies engage in addressing food security and climate change
Riley Brandt, University of Calgary

UCalgary is committed to providing learning opportunities that address interconnected global challenges and equip students to question, navigate change, and distill information. The 2023 Institutional Sustainability Report showcases creative education and engagement that nurtures transformative sustainability leaders of tomorrow.


Spotlighting sustainability in teaching, learning and student experience

Tackling food security on campuses across Canada

Food insecurity remains a pressing issue that post-secondary students face on campuses across Canada. In 2022, Maclean’s reported that approximately 40 per cent of post-secondary students in the country are food insecure. Poor academic performance, chronic health problems and poor mental health are just some of the ripple effects food-insecure students experience.

In an effort to address this challenge, the second annual Experience Ventures National Hackathon, powered by the Hunter Hub for Entrepreneurial Thinking, united students from different post-secondary institutions across the nation. Over the course of six weeks, students came together and virtually collaborated to generate innovative solutions to increase food security on campuses and enrich the lives of Canadian post-secondary students.

The Experience Ventures National Hackathon provides a platform to challenge students from diverse backgrounds to devise practical solutions to real-world issues that affect our communities. It promotes entrepreneurial thinking skills, offering students a valuable set of skills to make a positive impact. This is one of many examples of our campus community’s innovative spirit and skill to perceive challenges as opportunities for change.

Investing in leadership and intercultural programming

At UCalgary, we strive for excellence through innovative teaching and learning, cutting-edge exploration, and community engagement. The Global Indigenous Skills Program exemplifies this commitment. The program offers invaluable international study and work experiences, enhancing leadership, intercultural skills, and global competencies for both Indigenous and non-Indigenous students.

Funded by the Global Skills Opportunity (GSO) - the Government of Canada’s Outbound Student Mobility Pilot Program, this initiative encourages low-income students, students with disabilities and Indigenous students to participate in international study and work programs. It is also a significant step toward achieving Canada's trade diversification goals and strengthening international networks.

This program cultivates leadership, fosters identity awareness, and builds global networks related to Indigenous ways of knowing, doing, connecting, and being and offers real-world experience essential for students personal and professional growth.

Student solutions to climate change

As Canada's entrepreneurial university, UCalgary provides students with innovative programming opportunities that engage them in critical thinking and creative scholarship to dare to imagine sustainable solutions ahead of tomorrow.

In its inaugural year, the David Holub Interdisciplinary CleanTech Design Challenge called upon student innovators to develop solutions to address pressing climate challenges. This design challenge understands that the intersection of different academic backgrounds allows for common ground and expands the breadth of knowledge to solve specific problems. Recognizing the power of diverse academic backgrounds, this interdisciplinary event brought together law and engineering students in its first year, offering opportunities for collaboration and the integration of different perspectives to tackle real-world challenges.

During the event, students were encouraged to explore environmental problems from a holistic perspective, develop innovative, science-based solutions while considering legal requirements for implementation. Student solutions ranged from using geothermal energy to power greenhouses, repurposing oil and gas infrastructure to power electric vehicle charging stations, transforming renewable natural gas into energy to run wastewater treatment plants, and an app to encourage sustainable practices.

Read the 2023 Institutional Sustainability Report

To learn more about how UCalgary is sparking local and global change, visit the 2023 Institutional Sustainability Report web page.

Want to play a part in shaping sustainability at UCalgary? Participate in this short survey to help inform the next steps for sustainability and climate change initiatives at UCalgary. Participants who respond by Nov. 14 at 5 p.m. MT will be able to win one of 10 prize packs, including five $50 gift cards to the UCalgary Bookstore, and UCalgary-branded merchandise. 

The University of Calgary’s Institutional Sustainability Strategy provides a road map for continuous improvement in our pursuit of excellence and leadership in sustainability. We aim to be a Canadian post-secondary education leader in sustainability in our academic and engagement programs, administrative and operational practices, and through supporting community and industry in their aims for leadership in sustainability.

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