Nominated by their peers and colleagues, the Sustainability Hub’s new Sustainability Leadership awards recognize outstanding leadership to address climate change, reverse biodiversity loss, shift to circular economies, and create more resilient communities.

Many UBC community members are working hard to address sustainability issues, and Earth Day feels like a natural time to celebrate sustainability and climate action by all our students, faculty and staff.

But we all know someone that is going above and beyond. Whether it’s a creative dose of problem solving, consistently exceeding expectations, demonstrating extra resourcefulness, or taking bold steps that inspire others to follow.

In addition, UBC is home to students, faculty and staff that are working hard to bring community members together. Beyond individual commitment, they are identifying and addressing social and environmental challenges in ways that lead to more inclusive, equitable and supportive community responses to sustainability issues.

“It is important to recognize individuals leading and helping advance collective and community efforts on sustainability and climate action. The Sustainability Leadership Awards are one way for us to honour and celebrate the achievements of our students, staff and faculty leading and inspiring change.” – Kshamta Hunter, Manager, Sustainability Student Engagement, Sustainability Hub. 

At an awards evening held on the eve of Earth Day, the Sustainability Hub gathered over 80 people in UBC’s Centre for Interactive Research on Sustainability to recognize and celebrate leaders in our community. 

The list of winners included: 

Annabelle Liao, undergraduate student, Faculty of Land and Food Systems. 
Kaitlin Wu, undergraduate student, Faculty of Arts, The Institute for Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice 
Annie Lalande, graduate student, Faculty of Science, Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability 
Jade Poisson, Ph. D. candidate, Faculty of Science, Department of Chemistry 
Dr. Justin Bull, Sauder School of Business, Lecturer, Entrepreneurship and Innovation Group, Leader, Sustainability & Ethics Group 
Ms. Raluca Radu, Faculty of Applied Science, Lecturer, School of Nursing 
Brian Jones, Director, UBC Parking 
Vicky Baker, Research Project Manager, Faculty of Arts, Department of Asian Studies 

"I am enormously moved and honoured to receive this recognition for my work, that is fueled by my deep commitment to safeguard Mother Earth, and that reflects a piece of the larger journey ahead. All of which would not be possible without the dedicated community of students, faculty, and peers I have been privileged to be a part of [at UBC]." - Ms. Raluca Radu, Faculty of Applied Science, Lecturer, School of Nursing. 

"Receiving this award is a refreshing testament to how supportive the climate action community at UBC has been in allowing me to practice interdisciplinary collaboration while growing as a leader in sustainability, and my heart gravitates towards all the people who inspire me every day with their work and stories." - Annabelle Liao, undergraduate student, Faculty of Land and Food Systems. 

Hosting the awards ceremony, Linda Nowlan, Senior Director of the Sustainability Hub, noted, “The depth and breadth of sustainability work at UBC is truly remarkable. We’re thrilled to recognize these individuals from such a wide spectrum of the UBC community. They are all outstanding collaborators. We also salute all their colleagues, partners and fellow sustainability champions. It’s a whole of university effort to reach our ambitious goals.” 

“I am humbled to receive this award and am in constant awe of people across departments who are dedicated to climate action, in addition to their other full-time commitments.” - Vicky Baker, Research Project Manager, Faculty of Arts, Department of Asian Studies. 

Do you know someone at UBC that is making an exceptional effort to address sustainability issues?   

Reach out to Kshamta Hunter, Manager, Sustainability Student Engagement, Sustainability Hub,, with details so we can highlight their achievements.  

And don’t forget to bookmark your calendar for next year so that you can nominate them for a Sustainability Leadership Award! 


Profiles: 2023 Sustainability Leadership Award Winners  


Annabelle Liao, Faculty of Land and Food Systems 

  • Built a volunteer-run Lending Library to provide equipment for students to avoid single use and/or expensive purchases. 

  • Hired and trained a volunteer team to revitalize the composter in the Nest and recruited an engineering student to update and reinstall a waste scale to automatically log all waste streams. 

  • Engaged Indigenous students on campus to collectively develop the Indigenous Coordination section of the AMS Sustainable Action Plan to integrate an Indigenous lens throughout the various goals and priorities. 

“I would describe her as a quiet leader, someone who isn’t necessarily the most vocal or taking credit for the impact of their work, but an individual who demonstrates exceptional leadership through helping others realize their full potential.” – Peer nomination form. 

Kaitlin Wu, Faculty of Arts, The Institute for Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice 

  • Launched a new social enterprise the ‘Food Hub Market’ – with support from UBC’s Office of Wellbeing Strategy – to promote food security among students. 

  • Contributed to sustainable food systems through a focus on plant-based protein options, sourcing local foods, and redirecting food waste to campus partners.  

  • Promoted social sustainability through an empathy and social justice-based approach that makes the market an accessible entry point for all community members. 

  • Provided mentorship and leadership to over seven student-led research projects. 

“The fact that off-campus groups, including other universities, are reaching out to Kaitlin for advice on starting their own version of our Food Hub Market is a testament to the innovation, impact, and reach of her leadership.” – Peer nomination form. 


Annie Lalande, Faculty of Science, Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability 

  • Is revolutionizing the menu at Vancouver General Hospital with sustainable plant-forward items in order to maximize patient nutrition and improve care. 

  • Piloted a subsidized meal delivery service to general surgery residents, and is working with leaders in indigenous communities to make culturally appropriate menus available in hospitals. 

  • Working at the health authority level developing an onboarding curriculum focused on sustainable healthcare systems for new staff. 

“With her wide-reaching impact and initiatives, Annie has become a leader in the environmentally sustainable food movement. She has led workshops to educate others about the importance of plant-based foods at the local and provincial level and is in the process of co-developing playbooks focused on sustainable food and infrastructure with the national Cascades collaborative.” – Peer nomination form. 

Jade Poisson, Faculty of Science, Department of Chemistry 

  • Spearheaded new recycling programs for amber glass, soft plastic, and Styrofoam, reducing a significant portion of departmental waste output. 

  • Invented a new organic light-emitting diode (OLED) technology that can provide significant energy savings at much lower cost that current alternatives. 

  • Served as Secretary and Member-at-Large for campus group ‘Chemists for Diversity and Inclusion, hosting guest speakers from underrepresented groups in science. 

“Jade has been a powerful advocate for sustainability in the department of chemistry, and is passionate about making a positive difference in how the world uses its resources through her research.” – Peer nomination form. 


Dr. Justin Bull, Sauder School of Business, Lecturer, Entrepreneurship and Innovation Group, Leader, Sustainability & Ethics Group 

  • Created new, cutting-edge content for courses on Ethics and Sustainability, Sustainability and Innovation, and Indigenous Relations across undergraduate and masters programs. 

  • Led the creation of a novel MBA “Climate Track” that aims to give students the skills to design, support, and deliver management-based climate solutions. 

  • Promoted equity, diversity, and inclusion within Sauder, and served as Board Director for both the Nak'azdli Whut'en and the Tla’amin Nations. 

  • Mentored students on the Masters of Food and Resource Economics program, advised UBC-based climate-focused start-ups through the Creative Destruction Lab, and provided guidance as the Academic Director for the Masters of Engineering Leadership and Masters of Health Leadership and Policy. 

“Justin has truly gone above and beyond the call of duty for a full-time teaching faculty member. He takes an innovative, collaborative, and inclusive approach that uses systems thinking and transdisciplinary partnerships to inspire, educate, connect, and create solutions to the most defining and issues of our time.” – Peer nomination form. 

Ms. Raluca Radu, Faculty of Applied Science, Lecturer, School of Nursing 

  • Represented the nursing profession at the 66th United Nations Commission on the Status of Women to speak on the topic of Climate Change and Women’s health (March 2022). 

  • Sits on the UBC Climate Justice Advisory Committee supporting UBC’s vision for addressing the Climate Emergency – in particular ensuring UBC is meeting its climate justice commitments as set out in the Climate Emergency Task Force Report. 

  • Secured funding to support hosting two Indigenous youth to speak to students about the harmful health impacts of Trans Mountain Expansion Pipeline construction. 

  • Created impactful new teaching resources including a Wildfire Case Study and the Nursing Educational Tool on Climate Change. 

“Raluca is always keen to find new ways to move beyond the status quo through how content is taught in class. This approach has supported students to understand how climate change impacts people from comprehensive, equity-forward, social determinants of health lens.” – Peer nomination form. 


Brian Jones, Director, UBC Parking  

  • Allocated substantial carshare and carpool parking spaces, operates 74 EV charging stations, uses EV and Hydrogen vehicles in the Parking vehicle fleet.  

  • Developed a transit subsidy pilot program to provide CUPE staff with a 50% discount on their monthly pass. 

  • Supported the creation of murals in parkades and bike parking to add vibrancy and deliver sustainable transportation messages. 

  • Established the ‘Food for Fines’ program, which raises money for the AMS Food Bank. 

  • Supported student research through the SEEDS Sustainability Program, the UBC Co-op program, and UBC Engineering Capstone / Smart Cities projects. 

  • Working with UBC Engineering at Thunderbird Parkade to establish the UBC Renewable Energy Hub – featuring intelligent charging infrastructure for electric vehicles, a solar array on top of Thunderbird Parkade, and BC’s first hydrogen production and refuelling station for both light and heavy-duty vehicles. 

“[Brian] has initiated many innovative projects and service enhancements to not only improve parking at UBC and make the operation financially sustainable, but to help re-envision UBC Parking as a leading force in sustainability and climate action at UBC.” – Peer nomination form. 

Vicky Baker, Research Project Manager, Faculty of Arts, Department of Asian Studies 

  • Helped found the Interdepartmental Climate Committee (IDCC), that has garnered members from across the university in the Faculties of Arts, Science, and others units such as UBC Libraries and Sustainability Hub. 

  • Served as member of the Campus Synergy cohort with the Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies, working to lead the identification of priorities toward ensuring that UBC becomes a “Nature Positive University” by 2030. 

  • Led sustainability initiatives in the Department of Asian Studies by founding and maintaining a committee which works in collaboration with two other transformative initiatives in the department: antiracism and Indigenous Asia. 

  • Supported the Community GeoGarden at the Geography building, where she tended to the patch of soil and contributed to local food production. 

  • Regular engagement in many initiatives to showcase and enhance sustainability, such as at events held during Climate Emergency week, where Vicky was a regular (and often invited) participant. 

“In these and many other ways Vicky continues to make UBC more sustainable, always leading by example and grounded in compassion and kindness. We can think of no-one more deserving of this important award and recognition." – Peer nomination form.