How does it feel to be a Sustainability Ambassador? Hear from the 2018/19 Sustainability Ambassadors – what’s important to them, what they hope to achieve from their experience, and what they’ve gained from taking part.
Year 2, Chemical Biology Major, Faculty of Science
Growing up in Richmond, BC, I’ve had the opportunity to explore many beautiful parks and beaches throughout the Lower Mainland and learn about the land on which we live and study. Passionate about water sustainability, I have been involved in sustainability initiatives since the age of 12, with hopes to one day change the world. As a UBC Sustainability Ambassador, I hope to engage students in making sustainable decisions and reduce apathy towards the seemingly unsolvable problem of climate change.
Prospective IR Major, Faculty of Arts
After a transformational high school social studies course, I developed a deep interest in sustainability. In the following years I focused primarily on its social and economic elements, but soon realized that the holistic nature of sustainability made it imperative to incorporate strong environmental consideration into the work that I do. I’m passionate about Fairtrade, equitable economics, youth engagement, and compassion. As a Sustainability Ambassador I hope to advocate for all elements of sustainability, but especially the intersection between its various components: social, economic, and environmental.
Year 2, Global Resource Systems Major, Faculty of Land and Food Systems
Born in Seoul, I was raised in South Korea until the age of 10. Lack of water is a critical issue in Korea, and being taught this from a young age, I was the kid who nagged at everyone to turn off the tap when brushing their teeth. Upon moving to BC and being surrounded by beautiful landscapes with expanses of trees and oceans, my sense of responsibility in preserving the planet grew immensely. After realizing how big of an impact my daily habits have on global sustainability, I began taking greater actions towards integrating conscientious consumerism into my own lifestyle. My aim as a Sustainability Ambassador is to foster a sense of urgency and realization of personal responsibility among students to innovate rather than despair, and actively work to make an individual impact in improving sustainability in our world.
The program has given me access to sustainability resources and connections on campus, which allows me to explore creative ideas and turn them into action.
Year 3, Geography Major, Environment and Sustainability Specialization, Faculty of Arts
I was born and raised in Guadalajara, Mexico. I’m interested in the effects of climate change on social, political, and economical systems. In the future, I would like to address natural disaster mitigation through policy development. I’m certain that being a part of the Sustainability Ambassadors will provide the tools to set myself on the right path. In my free time you can find me jogging around campus, editing for Trial Six: The Undergraduate Journal of Geography, hiking, or trying to convince people to aim for a zero waste and sustainable lifestyle.
Year 3, International Relations Major, Faculty of Arts
I was born in the northern Andes mountains, was raised between the Great Lakes, and am now living at the foot of the Pacific Coastal mountains. These are the places I call home and hope to protect regardless of their borders. As a major component of this program and my degree, I look forward to exploring how sustainability is embedded in international affairs and urban development, as well as other fields, in order to discover the significance of sustainability in every discipline. In my spare time, I love to play soccer, ride my bike, and go to small concerts where artists you have probably never heard of perform.
Given the interdisciplinary nature of sustainability, the program has provided me with the opportunity to develop creative ideas and projects by working with students from different academic backgrounds.
Year 3, Environmental Science, Faculty of Science
I grew up in Vancouver, spending much of my childhood on a small, remote island in the Straight of Georgia. My time in, around, and on the sea gave me a deep appreciation for the natural world and for the importance of its protection. I thoroughly enjoy the outdoors, whether it's swimming in the sea, skiing up mountains, paddling various crafts to faraway islands, or long hikes into the back-country. I’m also on the executive team for the Environmental Science Students' Association, where I assist in bringing sustainability-themed, educational events to the UBC campus. As a Sustainability Ambassador, I hope to encourage students to take informed environmental action, and to think critically about the effects of both their small and large-scale decisions.
JULIA NIEBLES FERNANDEZ
Year 2, Faculty of Arts
I am from Costa Rica, a country that takes up 0.03% of the Earth’s surface but has 5% of its total biodiversity. I joined the Sustainability Ambassadors program because I want to learn more about the different facets of sustainability and promote it in our community. I'm interested in the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and how environmental impact affects development. I think this program is a great opportunity to work with students from different academic and cultural backgrounds.
This program is a great opportunity to challenge yourself and build your skills. You meet many students whom you are able to connect and collaborate with on projects. You build a very valuable network of supportive peers.
Year 2, Global Resource Systems Major, Faculty of Land and Food Systems
I became a Sustainability Ambassador because I wanted to raise awareness of how easy it is to live a more sustainable life. The program provides a platform for you to have your own personal view on sustainability. This reaches far more people, as we are given freedom to personalize our events and form movements with help and support from experts.
Year 3, Geological Engineering, Faculty of Engineering
I grew up in Penticton, BC with a passion for the outdoors and anything related to earth science and engineering. In recent years, I have seen the impact of climate change on communities, and am dedicated to pursuing a career that creates positive, sustainable change. As a Sustainability Ambassador, I hope to inspire action in students and faculty, and to help make living a sustainable life easy and hassle-free. Catch me at a concert, bouldering at the Hive, or reading on the beach.
The program has provided me with unique opportunities to collaborate with like-minded students and professionals from multiple disciplines to promote action on sustainability across UBC.
Year 2, Statistics Major, Faculty of Science
Coming from the bustling city of Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia, I never had much chance to fully connect with nature until I came to Vancouver. I believe it's important for people to spend time close to nature to nurture deeper feelings of love and care for it. I am particularly interested in low-impact, minimum-waste lifestyles that involve our diets and daily plastic habits. I hope to reach out to, inspire, and educate our campus community on how to easy it is to achieve lower-impact lifestyles or habits and why it's important to do so, as well as how our individual daily actions tie more directly to problems – like global warming and marine pollution – than we think.
Being a Sustainability Ambassador has opened doors to new opportunities and learning for me, including chances to impact the campus community and reach out to other student groups regarding improving sustainability. My mind has been opened to the importance of other pillars of sustainability besides just environment. Being an ambassador really makes me feel the drive and responsibility to take action on issues that need solving on campus.
Year 2, Faculty of Arts
I was raised in the suburbs of Boston, Massachusetts and stayed on the East Coast of the US for most of my life. Moving to Vancouver has been a huge change for me, but for the better. As a geography student, I love how my courses teach an integrated understanding of society, economics, politics, and the environment. Outside of school, I work in community development and partnership management at the Canadian Diabetes Association. Hobby-wise, I enjoy hiking, exploring caves, cooking new recipes, and touring the Vancouver food scene! Inspired by my mom’s political activism, I hope to work towards positive institutional change by raising awareness and building community networks as a Sustainability Ambassador.
Being a Sustainability Ambassador has helped me develop a sense of purpose thanks to my inspiring peers and the program’s mentorship. In addition to this personal growth, I’ve gained useful professional skills like event planning, grant writing, networking, and more.
Environment and Sustainability Major, Faculty of Arts
I’m ecstatic to be a Sustainability Ambassador at UBC. I initially became interested in the program because I wanted to embed sustainability in city planning. I believe being a student leader on campus will enable me to empower my own community. I grew up in Hong Kong where there is great social disparity within a small pocket of land. Therefore, I hope to use this opportunity to learn and advocate for social sustainability on campus.
Faculty of Arts
In 2006, as a seven-year-old, I watched a National Geographic documentary on climate change. This documentary claimed that the world would soon suffer from insufficient resources, ultimately leading to its end. Ever since, I have held a passion for sustainability and a particular fondness for the environment because of the Philippines' breathtaking landscapes. Seeing the beauty of pristine beaches and lush forests tainted by garbage, I developed a strong dislike for waste. Along with my fellow Sustainability Ambassadors, I hope to make others (and especially myself) aware of how easy it is to integrate sustainable practices into their lifestyles. I believe that change can start with small incremental actions.
As a Sustainability Ambassador, you are given a platform to teach the community about sustainability and how these practices can be easily integrated into their daily lives.
Year 2, Human Geography Major, Faculty of Arts
I was born and raised in Tokyo – one of the world’s largest urban areas – but developed a passion for sustainability in high school after working with farmers in rural Japan. There I realized that many of the farmers are well beyond the age most people retire and that farming is no longer a primary occupation in Japan. I began asking myself, “Given that Japan’s food self-sufficiency rate is already down to 39%, what will Japan’s future look like?” My curiosity has driven me to pursue sustainable development at UBC. Outside of school, you can find me skiing, playing tennis, and trying new restaurants in Vancouver. As a Sustainability Ambassador, I am excited to collaborate with students from a variety of departments with the same passion for solving global sustainability issues.
Not only did I learn how sustainability is integrated in the professional realm through guest presenters, but I was inspired by the passion and drive of other Sustainability Ambassadors to take individual actions towards sustainability.
Year 2, Faculty of Arts
I find that small, everyday sustainable actions add to the overall value of my life and helps encourage others to take sustainability step by step. On any given day, you can find me mooning over compost bins to check for contamination (and the occasional rogue squirrel), answering calls at the Asian Centre, and blasting my favorite jazz albums while powerwalking to catch the sunset. As a Sustainability Ambassador, I hope to encourage students to incorporate sustainability into their daily lives and look forward to learning more about sustainability at UBC as a whole.
Being a Sustainability Ambassador has given me the tools to bring my ideas to life and exposed me to many diverse opinions and thoughts.
TAMARA (TIMA) JOHNSON
Year 3, Geography Major, Environment and Sustainability Specialization, Creative Writing Minor, Faculty of Arts
My home is Whitehorse, Yukon, but I also grew up in different cities in Indonesia and Western Canada. The Northern landscape has always been an inspiration to me and learning about the evolutionary history and relationship of the land and humans has inspired me to pursue a life in the environmental field. I love that geography demands a multi-disciplinary lens and therefore calls for cross-analysis of political, social, and environmental structures. In my spare time I love discussing fantastical theories, travelling, art, and slacklining. As a Sustainability Ambassador, I hope to inspire others to understand that sustainability is an integral process that can no longer be deferred, and to make positive changes on campus.