In 1990, UBC signed the Talloires Declaration, a 10-point action plan for incorporating sustainability into higher education. We were the first university in Canada to adopt a sustainable development policy in 1997, and the first to open an office devoted to campus sustainability in 1998.
Now, sustainability is deeply embedded across UBC, thanks to the dedication and commitment of our faculty, staff, and students.
Find out who does what on campus, and how we make it happen.
UBC SUSTAINABILITY INITIATIVE
UBC has committed to the integration of our operational and academic efforts in sustainability and the UBC Sustainability Initiative, established in 2010, is our way of advancing this broad goal.
The UBC Sustainability Initiative undertakes key cross-cutting functions such as connector, curator and facilitator of a wide breadth of sustainability programs and activities across campus.
In partnership with many other groups, we help integrate and enhance sustainability themes into teaching, learning, and student engagement activities, support interdisciplinary urban research, advance regional and international engagement with sustainability partners, manage UBC’s Centre for Interactive Research on Sustainability, and host the UBC office of the Pacific Institute of Climate Solutions.
Meet the team
Linda Nowlan, Senior Director
More information coming soon.
[Current Vacancy], Academic Director
Please see more information about this position.
Central Support Office
Masoumeh Eghtesad, Administrative Coordinator
Masoumeh (Masy) provides administrative support to the USI teams, and leads HR processes within the unit.
Masy has a long history at UBC, including obtaining a Masters in Materials Engineering on the topic of magnesium removal from laterite leach solutions, her experience working at UBC finance in both payroll and accounts payable positions, and her experience in research for the department of Chemical Engineering.
Jon Garner, Communications and Engagement Manager
Jon is a Communications and Engagement Manager with experience in education, non-profit, private sector and government. He holds a Masters in Resource and Environmental Management from Simon Fraser University.
Equally at home behind a pop-up booth or keyboard, Jon has designed and implemented strategic communications plans that integrate media relations, advertising, websites, videos, social media, experiential events, and more.
Jon oversees the production of key USI publications including the Annual Sustainability Report, engagement activities such as Imagine day booths, and cross-campus engagement campaigns like Let’s Choose to Reuse.
Natalie Hawryshkewich, Communications and Engagement Specialist
Natalie has a Bachelor of Design from Ryerson University and is a currently working towards a Master in Library Science and Information Studies at the University of British Columbia (UBC).
Natalie’s experience in design and communications spans publishing, academia, and the arts including work with the Association of Book Publishers of British Columbia (ABPBC), Simon Fraser University (SFU) Public Square, and the Roundhouse Community Arts and Recreation Centre.
As part of her current studies, Natalie is interested in the correlation between information access and interpretation in advancing efforts towards environmental, economic, and social sustainability.
Tim Herron, CIRS Events and Engagement Manager (currently on medical leave)
Tim has worked at UBC since 2012. He has had many careers from teaching kindergarten to carpentry to working backstage on large rock shows and raves.
Activist, lover of theatre and film.
Regional and International Engagement
Victoria Smith, Director, Regional & International Engagement
Co-Executive Director, International Sustainable Campus Network (ISCN)
(USI Interim Co-Executive Director, Sept 2019 – May 2020)
As the Director of Regional and International Engagement with the UBC Sustainability Initiative (USI), Victoria works with staff, students, faculty and external partners to help advance UBC’s internationally renowned leadership in sustainability.
Since joining the team in 2014, Victoria has led the development of the UBC 20-Year Sustainability Strategy and the International Okanagan Charter on health and wellbeing, co-led the process of hosting the UBC President’s Roundtable on Climate Action and the University Climate Change Coalition (UC3) President’s symposium.
Victoria is also the Co-Executive Director of the International Sustainable Campus Network (ISCN) a global network with 90+ members in 30 countries. The mission of the ISCN is to provide an international forum to support higher education institutions in the exchange of information, ideas, and best practices for achieving sustainable campus operations and integrating sustainability in research and teaching.
Victoria has over 25 years of public and private sector experience in sustainability and holds a Master’s of Environmental Education and Communication.
Teaching, Learning, and Student Engagement
Jean Marcus, Director, Teaching, Learning & Student Engagement
Jean is an ecologist with a career-long passion for sustainability education. As Director of Teaching, Learning and Student Engagement Jean leads USI efforts to advance sustainability education and student engagement at UBC for over a decade.
Through fellowship and curriculum grant programs, Jean supports faculty to create new courses and programs and strives to help build a culture of sustainability educators at UBC. She also oversees USI’s student leadership and internship programs and the curation of UBC-V academic sustainability data.
Jean previously worked as the Manager of the Academic Programs Working Group of the UBC President’s Advisory Council on Sustainability, a Research Associate and NSERC Postdoctoral Research Scientist with the marine conservation group Project Seahorse, a Scientist in Residence with the Vancouver School Board, and an instructor and project leader with International Student Volunteers.
Jen Crothers, Data Manager
Jen has worked in various roles with USI over the last 10 years related to data, event and project management.
Jen is responsible for curating UBC academic data sets on sustainability-related degree programs, courses, researchers, research groups and more. In addition, she supports institutional projects such as the Times Higher Education University Impact Rankings submission, UBC’s reporting on the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the newly formed Sustainability Strategy Steering Committee.
Born in New Zealand, Jen has a Master of Library and Information Studies from Victoria University of Wellington.
Kshamta Hunter, Manager of Sustainability Student Engagement
With over ten years of experience in sustainability teaching and learning, Kshamta manages several engagement programs and provides advising services to support UBC student sustainability leadership and development goals.
Kshamta holds a Bachelor of Science in Genetics, a Masters in Curriculum and Pedagogy with a specialization in sustainability education, and is currently pursuing a PhD investigating the development of innovation competencies for sustainability.
Karen Taylor, Manager, Sustainability Scholars Program
Karen manages the Sustainability Scholars Program, a paid internship program for UBC graduate students to work on applied sustainability-related research projects for organizations throughout the lower mainland, Vancouver Island, and the B.C. Interior.
A UBC graduate with a BA in English and an MA in Children’s Literature, Karen has an extensive and varied background in program management, project management, marketing, advertising production, academic writing, research, and editing.
Urban Innovation Research
Angelique Pilon, Director, Urban Innovation Research
Angelique leads the Urban Innovation Research portfolio of interdisciplinary research and knowledge dissemination programs focused on sustainable buildings and urban development. She develops collaborations and partnerships that take advantage of UBC’s role as a living lab for sustainability, utilizing planning, building and infrastructure projects as opportunities for innovation, learning and knowledge exchange.
Angelique holds a Master of Architecture from the University of British Columbia and a Bachelor of Science in Architecture from the University of Michigan, and has professional experience in firms in both Canada and the United States. She has been at UBC for 10 years, in a variety of roles working at the intersection of research and practice.
Angelique is on the Leadership Board for the BC Chapter of the Canada Green Building Council; she is a certified Project Management Professional, and a LEED Accredited Professional with a specialization in Building Design and Construction.
Diana Lopez, CLL Research Project Coordinator
As a Research Project Coordinator at the UBC Sustainability Initiative, Diana Lopez contributes to multiple interdisciplinary research and knowledge dissemination projects and initiatives focused on sustainable buildings and urban development within the UBC campus. She has conducted research and participated in the creation of educational materials for multiple projects on campus, and she currently coordinates research for the Campus as a Living Lab initiative.
Diana holds a Master of Applied Science in Civil Engineering from UBC, and a diverse background in project management and applied research focused on green buildings, urban infrastructure and sustainable development. She is a LEED Green Associate and a Certified Associate in Project Management.
Zahra Teshnizi, UBC-ZEBx Research Manager
Zahra is a Research Manager with a focus on zero-emissions buildings. She works with internal and external partners, such as Zero Emission Building Exchange (ZEBx) to identify, develop, and manage applied research projects that engage students and faculty. Her previous projects include the Tall Wood Building research on UBC Brock Commons Tallwood House, which was the tallest mass-timber building at the time of construction. Zahra brings in a diverse background in sustainable building research and multi-stakeholder outreach and engagement.
Before joining UBC, Zahra worked with the City of Vancouver’s Sustainability Group, where she developed the first North American policy for embodied carbon emissions reporting. Zahra holds a Master in Advanced Studies in Architecture from the University of British Columbia and is a Certified Passive House Designer.
In her spare time, she enjoys B.C.’s beautiful nature through biking, hiking, and climbing.
CAMPUS + COMMUNITY PLANNING
UBC’s Campus + Community Planning department is a team of urban planners, designers, public consultation professionals, building inspectors, sustainability experts and support staff making the decisions that create the physical environment at UBC, shaping your experience of campus.
Key responsibilities include long-range planning, land use regulations, campus and landscape design, licensing and permits, managing programs that cover sustainability initiatives to transportation and community-building activities.
Learn more about UBC’s Campus + Community Planning department, and meet the leadership team.
UBC operates multiple centres of excellence and research groups in order to address complex issues at different scales, and respond to critical community needs. This work is supported by over 400 faculty investigating sustainability at UBC.
Many of our research groups are interdisciplinary by nature, while others specialize deeply in key areas of sustainability.
Find out more about featured research groups, or check our directory of sustainability-related research groups at UBC.
ENERGY & WATER SERVICES
Established in 2014, UBC’s Energy and Water Services unit is a dedicated to generating, distributing and conserving the Vancouver campus’ energy and water resources in an open and transparent manner. This means maintaining environmental comfort, ensuring system reliability, minimizing life cycle cost, and reducing GHG emissions.
UBC’s energy and water challenges are a microcosm of much larger global issues. Climate change from increased greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and aging infrastructure deficits are problems that governments and institutions grapple with around the world.
Can UBC contribute positive solutions to these worldwide challenges? Can our campuses separate GHG emissions from energy consumption?
Explore what UBC’s Energy and Water Services unit is doing to find out.
SUSTAINABILITY OFFICE AT UBC OKANAGAN
UBC’s Sustainability Office in the Okanagan is responsible for the advancement of sustainability on campus to support its development as a vibrant, regenerative community.
UBC Okanagan’s Whole Systems Infrastructure Plan responds to a call to deepen our approach to sustainability through systems thinking. Implementing the plan addresses interconnected issues related to energy, carbon, water, landscape, ecology, biodiversity and engagement.
Find out more about UBC’s Sustainability Office in the Okanagan and the Whole Systems Infrastructure Plan.
UBC Wellbeing is a collaborative effort to make UBC a better place to live, work and learn through a systems-wide approach to wellbeing across our campuses. The work of UBC Wellbeing is guided by the Okanagan Charter, a shared call to action for partners, leaders, and community members to make UBC a leading wellbeing-promoting university.
UBC Wellbeing recognizes that we all have a hand in shaping campus environments that support health, wellbeing, and sustainability. Find out more about this connected approach across academics and operations.
EQUITY & INCLUSION
UBC’s Equity & Inclusion Office is focused on advancing equity and human rights at UBC by promoting diversity, eliminating discrimination, and engaging the community in dialogue and action.
How? The Equity & Inclusion Office uses a research-informed approach, education and leadership workshops, and impactful programs to develop resiliency and manage conflict. This means working closely with faculty, staff and students to ensure they have the tools and skills necessary to create a socially sustainable community.
UBC’s Building Operations department is dedicated to maintaining and operating our campus spaces including lands, buildings, and fleet as sustainably as possible for the lowest total cost of ownership.
Among some of the many daily functions members of the team performs, Building Operations keeps spaces lit, the air temperature comfortable, waste sorted and recycled, and our campus clean.
Learn how UBC’s Buildings and Operations department collaborates with other partners across campus to achieve sustainability and other goals.
UBC’s Infrastructure Development department is responsible for the planning, development, renewal and renovation of campus facilities with a focus on creating inspiring, safe, and sustainable places to teach, learn, and live on campus.
Partners across the UBC community include the Provost and Vice-President, Academic Office, UBC’s Sustainability Initiative, and the University Neighbourhoods Association.
Find out more about some of the current projects overseen by UBC Infrastructure Development.
UBC SUSTAINABILITY MILESTONES
Ranked #1 for taking urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.
(Times Higher Education, United Nations Sustainable Development Goal #13)
Hosted International Sustainable Campus Network (ISCN) conference at Vancouver campus.
34% reduction in GHG emissions from 2007 levels achieved at Vancouver campus.
33% reduction in GHG emissions from 2013 levels achieved at Okanagan campus.
MOU with Metro Vancouver signed.
Second Gold rating in STARS earned.
*20-year Sustainability Strategy to advance regenerative sustainability developed.
*Gold rating in STARS, a university sustainability rating system, earned.
*Designation as Fair Trade Campus earned.
*Bold targets set to reduce GHG emissions. Invests to meet climate change goals.
Okanagan Sustainability Office established.
UBC Sustainability Initiative (USI) established to integrate operational and academic sustainability.
Sustainability Academic Strategy developed.
Sustainability integrated as a core pillar of UBC’s strategic plan.
Kyoto Protocol greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction targets met five years early.
Dr. John Robinson shares Nobel Peace Prize as one of lead authors of the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change report.
*Comprehensive campus-wide sustainability strategy published.
U-Pass program pioneered, quadrupling transit ridership since 1997.
ECOTREK (2001-2008), the largest energy and water retrofit program at a Canadian university launched.
*Campus Sustainability Office opened.
*Sustainable Development Policy adopted.
C.K. Choi Building opens, setting new green building benchmarks worldwide.
Dr. William Rees and graduate student Mathis Wackernagel develop ecological footprint concept.
Tailloires declaration signed. Globally commits to sustainability.
*First in Canada