How does it feel to be a Sustainability Ambassador? Hear from the 2019/20 Sustainability Ambassadors – what’s important to them, what they hope to achieve from their experience, and what they’ve gained from taking part.

Ambassador bios

Anisha Sandhu
Food, Nutrition and Health and Sustainable Food Systems Major, Faculty of Land and Food Systems
I was born and raised here in the lower mainland of BC. I was very fortunate to have a roof over my head and food on the table. As I grow older, I realize how fortunate I am to have these basics when there are communities around me that lack food security. Whether it is a lack of nutrient dense, culturally appropriate food or sparingly food in general. When I think about sustainability, I think of our food system.  We cannot have a sustainable food system if we have communities that are suffering from food insecurity. As a UBC Sustainability Ambassador I am working towards gaining skills and experiences to help me prepare to tackle this issue upon graduating.

Brooke Sutherland
Combined Major Economics and Political Science, Minor in Environment & Society, Faculty of Arts

I grew up in Victoria with a deep love for the ocean and an environmentally-conscious mindset. During my time at UBC, I’ve developed a strong interest in sustainable socio-economic systems and alternative understandings of development. To me, the Sustainability Ambassador team represents a knowledge sharing hub for collective action, and a place to learn how to shape my environmental aspirations into a career. In my free time I love to dance, hike in the mountains, read books about human psychology, and especially have a good chat.

Damara Featherstone 
Global Resource Systems Major, Faculty of Land and Food Systems

Growing up in Whistler, BC, I spent my childhood immersed in nature, where I developed a passion for anything outdoors. As I grew up, I developed a sense of responsibility for preserving the environment I was surrounded by and cherished so deeply. As a Sustainability Ambassador, I hope to inform others on the urgency of the issues at hand and foster a sense of personal responsibility while encouraging, rather than disheartening them. I hope to express how easy it can be to live sustainably through practices such as conscientious consumerism and adopting a minimum-waste lifestyle. I am most excited to collaborate with my fellow ambassadors to come up with novel ideas to tackle sustainability issues at UBC from a holistic perspective. Outside of school, you can catch me skiing, climbing, hiking in the backcountry, biking around Vancouver, or picnicking at a beach with my friends!

Elysia Park
Natural Resources Conservation Major, Faculty of Science

After visiting Ghana as a medical volunteer, I was shocked at our planet's environmental state. I was ashamed at my unawareness of the climate crisis and waste issues so I dedicated my last year of high school to research the effects of climate change on our underwater world. After my year-long research, I decided to devote my university studies and my career for the environment, and I'm very proud and happy with what I'm studying here in UBC. In my own time, I love to swim, ice skate, and attend environmental conferences or watch ocean documentaries! I also love to shop for environmental and sustainable everyday items that I can introduce to friends and family.

Emily White
Environmental Science Major, Faculty of Science

Hannah Sarchuk
Environment & Sustainability and Political Science Double Major, Faculty of Arts

Jonathan Chen
Business and Computer Science Major, Faculty of Commerce

Growing up in Vancouver, I took nature's beauty for granted. Our non-reciprocating relationship with the environment is unsustainable, and I want to grow old in a world still burgeoning with life. With the Sustainability Ambassadors, I hope to inspire climate action through education, discussion, and activism. In the future, I'm interested in supporting social purpose organizations and leveraging cleantech as a vehicle for halting climate change. In my spare time, I enjoy sports, nature, and a well-written drama.

Kate Theriault
Political Science and Geography (Environment and Sustainability) Double Major, Faculty of Arts

I was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area. Throughout my adolescence I always loved animals, however, it wasn't until I started volunteering at a marine mammal hospital in high school that I realized the impact of climate change on the various species I cared about. My passion for combatting climate change eventually merged with my interest in politics. It was at this time that I knew the best place for me to make a difference was by taking action in government to create legislation that would help the environment. I hope that by being a Sustainability Ambassador I can communicate to my peers at UBC the urgency of what must be done and how we can all take a role in the solution.

Kitty Sun
Medical Laboratory Science Major, Faculty of Medicine

Being born and raised in coastal cities has truly instilled within me a deep-rooted passion for the environment that surrounds us. From the coastal mountains that provide scenic summer hikes, to the ocean that serves as home to so much of the rich wildlife we share this Earth with, I can’t imagine living anywhere else. In the past few years, I have grown increasingly more conscious about the negative impact that our actions have on the planet. As I am passionate about both science and sustainability, I am often conflicted while pursuing a field of study where sustainable practices are rarely considered and often unachievable under current common practices. I am dedicated to pursuing environmentally sustainable methods in all aspects of my life, and hope to bring awareness of sustainable practices to the scientific community as well as to UBC’s campus as a sustainability ambassador.

Kyu Shim 
Double Major in Political Science and International Relations, Faculty of Arts

I have been exposed to a vast number of societies, since I was born in the U.S, raised in China, but I am of Japanese and Korean descent. Along with the amazing aspects of this, it is challenging as well. During my time as a Sustainability Ambassador, I hope to cooperate closely with like-minded individuals and communities who also wish to see these challenges resolved in a sustainable manner. I hope to continue broadening my understanding of sustainability as its ambassador by learning and sharing its philosophy along with my peers and the UBC community I will be working closely with. I believe sustainability entails a variety of implications depending on the context it is being used in. Even if so, these implications are still fundamentally tied to ensuring a reality manifested from an inclusive and respectful coalition of diverse parties.

Laura Super
PhD Candidate, Forest and Conservation Sciences

I had an amazing daycare in preschool where we went outside almost every day, especially in the forest, and we were taught daily kindness and to respect one another and the earth. I recall coming home from daycare one evening and peeing on the floor, and my mom asked me why I did that. I told her I was concerned we would hurt the oceans with our waste given what we learned that day at preschool. I am now a budding scientist (botanist and ecologist), and I am passionate about the arts, research, teaching, and outreach. I do my best to represent the lessons I learned long ago, and new ones, to collaborate with others to address pressing issues in our rapidly changing world. I am very excited to be a Sustainability Ambassador this year to develop thoughtful, kind, and intelligent ideas as well as put some of them into action at UBC and the broader community.

Leah Isfeld
Math Major, Faculty of Science

I grew up in a rural municipality north of Winnipeg, Manitoba. I have always loved the outdoors and being involved in my community, whether it be garbage clean-ups or educational events at the historic sites. My inspiration for sustainability comes from home community and upbringing; living right beside the Red River and close to Lake Winnipeg, I have witnessed the impacts of polluted water ways and poverty. In my spare time I enjoy playing piano, hot yoga, rollerblading, and anything outdoors. I am excited to learn more about the role sustainability plays in everyday life and how the UBC community, and I as an individual, can create positive change for the future. 

Manjot Sandhu
Biology Major, Faculty of Science

Mannkiran Pandher
Biology Major, Environmental Sciences Minor, Faculty of Science

I was born and raised in Vancouver, and since I was a child, my curiosity played a major role in my education and actions. What I loved even more was telling anyone that would listen about what I learned. To this day, I still do this, especially around sustainability issues. As a young adult, I became aware that the actions of humans are not sustainable. In this position, I hope to not only learn more about sustainability issues, but also bring awareness to them. I am looking forward to collaborating with the other ambassadors!

Natalie Youssef
Finance Major, Faculty of Commerce

After a transformative economics and ecology class in high school, I started to develop a strong interest in the socioeconomic and political impacts of sustainable practices on our community from a young age. In the following years, I mainly focused on its environmental and economic components, but soon realized that the holistic nature of sustainability makes it easier to incorporate it into my studies and daily decisions. I am interested in the role of integrating sustainability into the financial system and how it meets the objectives agreed upon in the United Nations Sustainability Development Goals. As a Sustainability Ambassador, I hope to encourage students to think critically of their choices on both a short and long-term scale and to clear any misconceptions regarding this broad-ranging field.

Ozum Kafaee
Management Information Systems Major, Faculty of Commerce

For most of my life before moving to Vancouver, I lived in Istanbul, Turkey, a huge metropolitan area with a population of 15 million. Having lived in such an immense city where issues relating to the environment are rarely prioritized, I became more interested in collective efforts focusing on communicating the need for action to those unconcerned and mobilizing people to create positive change. I am currently a PhD student at the Sauder School of Business in the Management Information Systems department. Since the day I arrived at UBC, I have been amazed by the importance UBC places on sustainability and I am very excited to be part of UBC’s sustainability initiatives as a Sustainability Ambassador. My primary goal in this role is to encourage individuals to structure their life in a way that would have the least negative impact on the environment and their communities, and work on communicating sustainability-related academic research to the wider UBC public. When I am not talking about sustainability, you can find me reading outdoors in one of the beautiful spots on campus, promoting UBC graduate studies as a Graduate Ambassador, or running in Pacific Spirit Park.

Nic Huige
Human Geography Major, Faculty of Arts

As a Human Geography major, I am interested in learning about how people and their environments can live in harmony with one another and how we can achieve sustainability in all realms of life. Creating a more sustainable UBC is a dream that I hope to achieve this year, even if it is in a small way, because little actions can add up to big change! If you bump into me, feel free to chat with me about hiking, scary movies, delicious food and last but not least, sustainability initiatives! 

Phoebe Autio
Geography (Environment and Sustainability) Major, Faculty of Arts

Rachel Chan
Food, Nutrition and Health Major, Faculty of Land and Food Systems

I started to realize the threat of climate change in elementary school, but did not have the capacity, knowledge and courage to take actions. Living in Hong Kong I can feel how imminent climate change is, because typhoons are getting more disastrous and summer temperatures can reach up to 35°C. The threats we are facing are telling me to take actions now. I hope to drive concrete actions in dealing with climate change in the structural level, and raise the awareness of environmental conservation in the public. As a sustainability ambassador, I hope to make the campus a more sustainable place, and bring my experience to help the larger community.

Sirena Harrop
Faculty of Commerce

Sylvie Yang 
Natural Resources Conservation Major, Faculty of Forestry

I’m a second year student at UBC in the Faculty Forestry studying Natural Resources Conservation. I am from the Washington DC area in the US where I’ve spent time working on conserving parks and running a green club. I have always been interested in sustainability and I’m looking forward to being involved in this program to help UBC follow its commitment to sustainability. 

Tiffany Mak
Global Resource Systems Major, Faculty of Land and Food Systems

Tolulope Afolabi
Forest Resources Management Major, Faculty of Forestry

I am Tolulope Esther Afolabi. A Nigerian, an environmental enthusiast and a MasterCard Scholar in my second year of the Master of Science in Forestry. I am interested in sustainable development especially in relation to how it affects the environment. This has motivated me to channel my research towards seeking possible solutions or strategies for environmental sustainability through the management of environmental resources such as forests. When not buried in my research, you will find me doing creative writing, singing, catering or learning something new.

Vicky Kim
Forest Resources Management Major, Faculty of Forestry

I have always been fascinated by the delicate balance and interdependence that exists within all parts of our planet. Through science, I could explore the connections and intricacies that make up the world and I quickly fell in love with learning it. Upon learning about man-made damages on Earth such as pollution and poor waste management, I realized that these issues were largely connected to our health and ecosystems, and that they were detrimental to the balance needed to sustain one another. I believe that collaborative and holistic approaches are necessary to tackle these complex issues, and that everyone can play a part in them through their own individuality and lifestyles. As a Sustainability Ambassador, I hope to help students discover their own sense of purpose in our shared goal to take responsibility for preserving the planet that has provided for us.

Xuedan Xu
Global Perspectives Major, Faculty of Forestry 

Growing up in Vancouver, I’ve had the opportunity to explore the many mountains, beaches and trails BC has to offer. As a result, I am primarily fascinated by the connection between city planning and the outdoor world — and how to plan infrastructure that encourages our protection and participation amongst these areas. As a Sustainability Ambassador, I aim to encourage the idea that sustainability is accessible to all. Seemingly small notions, such as switching to a reusable cup or spending a few extra seconds sorting out the trash correctly, are fundamental towards a more sustainable future. In my spare time, find me running along trails, kayaking, bouldering, or listening to music on my long transit ride to school!