SEEDS mission is to develop strategies for achieving the University’s operational environmental and social sustainability goals by leveraging student academic research and expertise.

Imagine taking part in an innovative, project-based program where students transform their campus and community through their coursework. A program where faculty members are supported in using the Campus as a Living Laboratory for applied learning and research. And where staff and community partners are connected with cutting-edge academic research, expertise, and student creativity to find solutions to their biggest sustainability challenges.

Learn about our unique program model, values, approach, deliverables, funding and resources.

SEEDS is an internationally recognized and multiple award-winning program. Most recently, SEEDS received recognition from the International Sustainable Campus Network (ISCN), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Environmental Association for Universities and Colleges (EAUC).

Our program model 

UBC Faculty:

  • Supervise and support students throughout the project by providing expertise and evaluation.

UBC Staff and Community Partners:

  • Work with project teams to define the research problem, and explore solutions to sustainability challenges.

UBC Students:

  • Students connect with existing student efforts and emerging research to investigate ideas and propose innovative solutions.

SEEDS Project Managers: 

  • Provides oversight in the complete project life cycle from ideation, initiation, planning, execution, monitoring, and closing and follow up.

Our values

We strive to create projects that are purposeful and produce tangible results

Campus as a Living Lab
We enable the physical and planning operations of the university to be integrated into the curriculum as key subject matter to explore and address sustainability challenges

We believe in working collectively to address complex challenges 

Community grounded
Our staff and community partners are involved in all stages of the project

We cross traditional boundaries between academic disciplines to enable dynamic change

We recognize every project can be a catalyst for positive change

We support UBC students’ role in transforming our campus and community

We work collaboratively to address societal sustainability challenges

Whole-systems approach
We take a natural systems approach to everything we do

Our Approach

  • SEEDS employs a Community-Based Action Research methodological framework. We make sure that each project involves community members throughout the process from project ideation right through to sharing findings.
  • SEEDS applies Project Management principles and facilitation throughout the duration of each project. Each project is assigned a project manager who provides oversight in the complete project life cycle from ideation, initiation, planning, execution, monitoring, and closing and follow up.

Project deliverables:

Every SEEDS project results in the following:

  • A report published on the SEEDS Library (including executive summary)
  • A presentation to peers and partners
  • Additional deliverables (e.g. prototypes, a demonstration, conceptual designs, full build, video, application, installation, etc.)

Our funding and resources:

SEEDS Project Managers oversee projects and provide support for accessing funding and resources. They provide project management support to identify and align UBC faculty interests and expertise with graduate or senior undergraduate students. Projects are delivered through individual student studies and/or class or cohort-based work. In some scenarios, funding may be required to support projects. 

  • Funding may be required to support certain projects such as funding for project materials or equipment, data collection incentives and resources, and occasionally student paid work where applicable.  In these instances, SEEDS evaluates requests on a case-by-case basis to determine eligibility for SEEDS funds, or can help facilitate funding applications for up to $10,000 per project.
  • In some instances, where specialized student skills are required for a priority project, or where no for-credit opportunities exist, staff and community partners may contribute funding for paid student work as part of a SEEDS project.