How do we work together to turn a passion for sustainability into personal learning and action on campus? By building your skills, competencies, and experiences.
The Sustainability Ambassadors is an immersive leadership experience for UBC students interested in personal, collaborative, and community-engaged learning. The program is designed to offer opportunities for critical and creative engagement, and experiences for students to practice their leadership skills and sustainability competencies, through learning, planning and implementing projects, events and workshops to advance UBC sustainability priority areas and goals.
Sustainability Ambassadors are further eligible for certification through the Catalyst program.
- Develop sustainability competencies and skills to foster learning, equity, and mutual respect
- Develop project management and facilitation skills
- Increase awareness of, and engagement in, sustainability and climate issues on- and off-campus
- Help facilitate community learning workshops
- Increase involvement in sustainability and climate action
Sustainability Ambassadors engage the community in sustainability- and climate-related opportunities and work collaboratively with key groups/units to advance sustainability and climate goals.
Students develop core sustainability leadership competencies (self-awareness, systems thinking, strategic application, interpersonal and collaboration, and interdisciplinary integration) in a cohort focused on one of five themes: biodiversity, climate, resilient communities, ethical civic engagement, and justice. Each cohort has 10 Ambassadors who will receive specialized programming and learning sessions, including workshops and discussions to support learning on their topic.
Sustainability Ambassadors work closely with their Sustainability Leader and as part of a team to engage the community through:
- Outreach events. Each core area team will design and facilitate events on topics related to an impact area (Climate: climate justice and Resilient communities: SDGs). The Ambassadors will also assist their Sustainability Leader in facilitating community workshops.
- Planning and implementing projects. Each team will work closely with a UBC team to support the core impact area goals. These are pre-conceived projects that are planned in collaboration with a UBC program partner.
While this is a volunteer position, Ambassadors can enroll in and gain Directed Studies credits for their involvement and commitment to the program. Ambassadors are responsible for an average contribution of 4-5 hours per week as follows:
- 2 hours per week: Ambassador team meetings and ongoing training
- 2-3 hours per week: Development, facilitation, and delivery of workshops and events and support project logistics/planning
Successful candidates will commit to an 8-month period (September 2023-April 2024).
Students will develop key sustainability competencies and engage in leadership training by Sustainability Leaders, with support from the UBC Sustainability Hub’s Teaching, Learning & Student Engagement (TLSE) team. Training sessions will be held during meetings and on key training days. There will also be on-going discussions on sustainability issues and topics during weekly meetings, to ensure baseline knowledge about sustainability resources at UBC.
Please note that these training sessions and meetings are mandatory – if you are a successful applicant, you will be asked to clear your schedule of classes or other commitments during these times. Please build your schedule around these times.
- Spring Welcome event: April 14, 2023 (note that exams begin April 17)
- Sustainability Ambassadors Orientation: September 16, 2023, 8:45am-4:30pm
- Weekly team meetings: These meetings will be determined in consultation with the cohort teams and the Sustainability Leader. Weekly team meetings will occur every week throughout the academic year.
- Support Ambassador recruitment through group interview facilitation and attend the 2024 Spring Welcome event to welcome new Ambassadors.
Please note that not all cohorts listed below may be offered next year. We are confirming partnerships with cohort mentors and will be able to update the invited candidates during the interviews in March.
Engage meaningfully with the biodiversity crises through interdisciplinary and experiential learning opportunities, mentorship, and networking. Learn to integrate critical biodiversity topics such as citizen science, urban ecology, and global connections through applied research projects which tackle research questions posed by campus partners and policymakers. Learn more
Engage with the concept of sustainability through a climate lens, including the fundamental understanding of climate, how and why it is changing, and what we need to do to protect it. Learn to integrate climate science, societal knowledge, and self in working towards the climate emergency. Learn more
Climate Action Mobilization
Engage in collective action by co-creating innovative climate solutions in collaboration with community partners to help transform neighbourhoods and communities on and off-campus. Develop your leadership capacity and ability to analyze complex social and environmental issues, increase your understanding of local contexts, and co-create climate actions.
Climate Resilient Communities
Explore climate resilience through the collective ability to adapt to, mitigate, and build capacity around responding to the climate crisis — specifically in ways that prioritize community well-being and lived experience as expertise. Learn to integrate climate adaptation, climate resilience, and capacity building to facilitate more climate-resilient communities. Learn more
Engage with climate justice and sustainability through the lens of recognitional, procedural, and distributional justice. Learn to integrate climate justice through the lens of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) while drawing on diverse perspectives to unpack challenges and solutions. Learn more
Climate & Movement: Engage with physical activity and sustainability to support the work in promoting movement and building resilience through a climate action lens. Support actions that address sedentary behaviour through active transportation and off-campus movement opportunities.
Learn about circular economies through the lens of UBC’s Climate Action Plan (CAP 2030) and net zero emission targets. Engaging principles of climate justice are particularly relevant when developing climate actions related to food systems, commuting and business air travel. Identify and implement solutions integral to shifting cultural norms, while ensuring an equitable approach.
Sustainability Ambassador FAQs
What can I expect to take away from being a Sustainability Ambassador?
The program provides UBC students with the ability to take a hands-on leadership approach to bring greater sustainability to their communities. Students get to engage with like-minded peers in discussion and learning to enhance their understanding of themselves as leaders, community members, and young change-makers.
What’s the weekly workload?
Ambassadors are expected to attend mandatory weekly meetings (facilitated by their Sustainability Leader), meet with their project team to work on a major project and plan and facilitate various events and workshops for the community. Weeks may vary depending on the amount of work that an individual decides to commit to or the timeline of their projects and initiatives. Typically, you will spend 4 hours per week.
What do weekly team meetings consist of?
Weekly meetings allow Ambassadors to connect with their peers through workshops facilitated by experts on a range of topics, from understanding your own role as a leader in sustainability to acknowledging positionality. These meetings will also provide you with the tools to understand and support your community partners in their projects.
What kind of projects can we expect to be working on?
The projects for the Sustainability Ambassadors will be pre-determined in consultation with the community partners. This year, the projects are primarily driven by the cohort themes: Climate, Justice, Resilient Communities, Circular Economies, and Civic and Ethical Engagement - and contribute to the overall sustainability and climate goals of the university.
Who should apply?
The UBC Sustainability Ambassadors program is open to UBC Vancouver students of all disciplines and degrees. Each program cohort will take 10 students and tends to include a competitive application process. We recommend interested and passionate students apply to the program; there is no specific skill set or criteria necessary to make a successful member of our team.
I am graduating in November 2023. Can I still apply and be eligible to participate in the program?
If you are graduating in November 2023 you are not eligible to participate in the program for the 2023-24 year. If you are graduating in May 2024 then you are eligible to apply and participate in the 2023-24 cohorts.