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
Linda Nowlan leads the UBC Sustainability Initiative as Senior Director. She has over twenty five years of experience in sustainability as a public interest environmental lawyer and NGO leader. Linda is an Adjunct Professor at the Allard School of Law and spent two years as a Faculty Research Associate with the UBC Program on Water Governance. She is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Canadian Museum of Nature and the IUCN Commission on Environmental Law, and previously served on Vancouver's Greenest City Action Team and the Boards of the Fraser Basin Council and Smart Growth BC. Her advocacy contributed to many legal reforms, and her publications cover topics ranging from groundwater protection to marine spatial planning to extinction art.
At West Coast Environmental Law, Linda served as Executive Director, Staff Lawyer, and Director of the Marine Program where she led a team to strengthen ocean protection through Canadian and Indigenous law. She also worked at WWF-Canada, the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office, and a Vancouver litigation law firm. Linda has degrees in English literature, law and international law.
Tara Ivanochko, Academic Director
As Academic Director, Tara works in partnership with the Senior Director to provide vision, guidance, and oversight to the USI. Tara received her PhD from the University of Edinburgh where she reconstructed changes in the intensity of the Indian Monsoon over the last 100,000 years and investigated the interconnections between equatorial and polar climate change.
Tara joined UBC’s Department of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences (EOAS) as faculty in the Educational Leadership steam in 2009. In EOAS, Tara has since served as the Director of Environmental Science and as Associate Head Undergraduate Affairs. Tara has also engaged as a Sustainability Fellow with the USI to forward sustainability education at UBC, as a steering committee member for the UBC Centre for Sustainable Food Systems, and as a member of the UBC Interdisciplinary Education Task Force. She helped envision the UBC 20-year Sustainability Strategy and develop the Faculty of Science sustainability course offerings.
As an educator, Tara builds relationships between students and community organizations through collaborative research projects. These projects allow environmental science students to actively contribute to building sustainable communities.
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 a Master in Library and Information Studies from UBC.
Her experience in design and communications spans publishing, academia, and the arts including work with the Association of Book Publishers of British Columbia, SFU Public Square, and the Roundhouse Community Arts and Recreation Centre.
Tim Herron, CIRS Events and Engagement Manager
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.
Alejandra Urcelay, Data Manager
As the Data Manager for the Sustainability Hub, Alejandra supports reporting, analysis, and communication activities across the different groups within the unit. In addition, she collaborates with other partners including UBC's Campus & Community Planning, Wellbeing, and the UBC Okanagan Sustainability Office. She holds a Bachelor of Applied Science in Environmental Engineering from Universidad La Salle, Mexico and a Masters in Science in Resources, Environment and Sustainability from UBC.
Alejandra has experience working in environmental consulting services including environmental and social impact assessments, environmental monitoring, climate change impacts assessment, and spatial modelling projects.
Alejandra's current work focuses on analyzing institutional data to highlight trends in sustainability performance and in providing evidence-based insights and recommendations that inform future programs and activities.
Regional and International Engagement
Victoria Smith, Director, Regional & International Engagement
Co-Executive Director, International Sustainable Campus Network (ISCN)
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
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.
Jacquie Kwok, Program Coordinator, Teaching, Learning & Student Engagement
With a background in experiential land-based and environmental learning, Jacquie is passionate about enabling students to act as sustainability agents of change at UBC and beyond. She supports and facilitates a range of USI student programs and services, and provides advising services to students seeking sustainability involvement opportunities at UBC Vancouver.
She holds a BSc. in Natural Resources Conservation, a Masters in Land and Water Systems, and currently holds a research fellowship with the Vancouver Botanical Gardens Association (VBGA) working on developing their environmental education pedagogy and programming.
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.
UBC Climate Emergency
Nadia Joe, Co-Senior Project Manager
Gä̀gala- ƛiƛetko (Nadia Joe) has spent the past 10 years working to support Indigenous communities across Canada advance their rights and interests in water security through various water co-management initiatives. She was raised by a river and loved into leadership by the many elders, leaders, mentors of the nłe?kepmx and southern Tutchone-Tlingit peoples. Her mother is nłe?kepmx and sylix and her father is southern-Tutchone & Tlingit. She belongs to the Crow Clan (Kä̀jet) of the Champagne and Aishihik First Nations.
Pablo Akira Beimler, Co-Senior Project Manager
Pablo is a Co-Senior Project Manager of UBC’s Climate Emergency supporting the implementation of a comprehensive and just response to the climate crisis across UBC campuses. He is a Masters of Community and Regional Planning graduate in the Indigenous Community Planning program at UBC and has a B.A. in Environmental Economics & Policy, B.S. in Conservation & Resources Studies, and minor in Forestry from the University of California, Berkeley.
Pablo was formerly the Climate Hub @ UBC’s Academic Lead and has years of experience conducting wildfire research and facilitating community-led and focused wildfire management, outreach, and youth education programming throughout Hawaiʻi and in South Lake Tahoe, California. Pablo’s deep reverence for nature and passion for bringing together people from all walks of life drives his work as a planner. He approaches community work with empathy, integrity, and a commitment to decolonization and social justice and believes in the power of collective action, deep collaboration, and intersectional movement building.
Urban Innovation Research
Binoy Mascarenhas, Interim Director, Urban Innovation Research
Binoy is the interim Director of Urban Innovation Research. He is responsible for developing collaborations that enable the use of the UBC Campus as a ‘Living Lab’ to incubate new ideas of urban transformation. He also provides direction to research on urban mobility, green buildings, and sustainable development.
Before joining USI, Binoy served as the Head of Urban Transport at the World Resources Institute, where he strove to advance an equitable and sustainable agenda across the global South. He is a co-founder of Equal Streets - a citizens' movement advocating for inclusive mobility in Mumbai, which put together the city's first, weekly car-free day. He has considerable experience developing urban mobility solutions, covering the areas of transit planning, walking and biking, road safety and travel demand management.
Binoy is an urban planner and economist, and seeks to imbibe both disciplines in his work. He is passionate about exploring new ways to move cities towards a path of resilience, equity and shared prosperity, with a strong focus on well-being and community life.
Angelique Pilon, Director (on leave), 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.
Megan Badri, Research Technician/Project lead, Urban Innovation Research
Megan is a research technician at the UBC Sustainability Initiative (USI). Her role is coordinating on knowledge capture and dissemination projects and leading research and initiatives focused on high performance, low carbon, and sustainable buildings.
Prior to joining UBC Sustainability Initiative (USI), she’d been working as a building sustainability analyst and scholar with both industry and research centers, responsible for engaging in activities to leverage, support, and promote services in the field of energy efficient buildings, green rating systems, and sustainable built environment.
Megan hold a Master Degree in Energy and Architectural Engineering from the University of Tehran, and currently she is pursuing her PhD in Environmental Design at the University of Calgary. Her research focus is eliminating building environmental impacts by integrating Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) and energy performance analysis. She is a LEED Green Associate.
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