The Social Ecological Economic Development Studies (SEEDS) Program creates partnerships between students, faculty, staff and community partners to learn together through research projects that are tested on campus, and applied in real-world settings.

Get up to speed on the history of the program, our goals, impacts, and achievements so far.


Launched in 2000, the SEEDS Program grew out of UBC’s Greening the Campus initiative (1994 to 1998), established under the leadership of Dr. John Robinson.

The SEEDS Sustainability Program was Western Canada’s first academic operational program to integrate students’ energy and enthusiasm for sustainability with faculty members’ research experience, and staff members’ commitment and expertise to advance sustainability on campus.

Few universities in North America have similar initiatives, and SEEDS is certainly the largest and most comprehensive. To learn more about the program’s history, download our case study. 




Delivered by UBC’s Campus + Community Planning Department, the SEEDS Sustainability Program directly supports UBC’s efforts to advance sustainability and contribute to international commitments.

Our goals are to:

1. Develop strategies that will achieve the University’s environmental and social sustainability goals in 15 thematic areas

This includes areas of climate, energy, water, waste, land, food, transportation, community, finance, buildings, materials, biodiversity, procurement, health, and wellbeing.

2. Enrich the student learning experience through providing applied learning opportunities in the sustainability field

3. Advance sustainability through innovative research projects developed in partnership with students, faculty, staff and community partners leading to operational changes at UBC and beyond



We are proud to say that we have engaged more than 7,500 senior undergraduate and graduate students, UBC faculty, staff and community partners, including:

  • 240 faculty
  • 460 staff and community partners
  • 12 faculties and schools 
  • 250+ senior undergraduate and graduate courses 



The outcomes of the majority of SEEDS projects get implemented or influence decision-making around ecological, social and economic sustainability on campus.

The impact of our program’s activities includes:

  • 1,500+ publicly-accessible research reports 
  • 1,000+ sustainability projects implemented
  • 23 UBC sustainability plans, policies, strategies and frameworks informed



The SEEDS Sustainability Program has received international recognition through several awards, and our model has been replicated across several universities in North America and Europe.

Most recently we received recognition from:

Other recent award highlights include the Global Green Gown Award, Campus Sustainability Case Study Award, and being selected as one of 30 international cases in the ISCN 2017 Sustainable Campus Best Practices report.

International Sustainable Campus Network (ISCN)

The SEEDS Sustainability Program was one of thirty international cases selected in the 2017 Sustainable Campus Best Practices from ISCN and Gulf Universities report. ISCN recognized our program for the action-oriented approach we take to supporting the integration of academic and operational work on sustainability.

Global Green Gown Award

The SEEDS Sustainability Program was recognized with a Global Green Gown Award for Student Engagement. The award recognizes exceptional sustainability initiatives being undertaken by universities and colleges across the world. Facilitated by the Global Universities Partnership on Environment and Sustainability (GUPES) network across over 800 universities and colleges, the award is a joint initiative of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Environmental Association for Universities and Colleges (EAUC).

UBC President’s Service Awards for Excellence
Liska Richer, Manager of the SEEDS Sustainability Program received the UBC President’s Service Award for Excellence. This is the top award presented to UBC staff members who demonstrate outstanding achievement and excellence within the UBC community.

Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) - Campus Sustainability Case Study Award

UBC’s SEEDS Sustainability Program received a Campus Sustainability Case Study Award for student research projects that use the campus as a living laboratory and support the integration of academic and operational work on sustainability.

Canadian Association of University Business Officers (CAUBO) - Quality and Productivity Awards
National Second Prize: UBC SEEDS Program 

Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) - Campus Sustainability Leadership Award 

UBC’s SEEDS Sustainability Program received the sustainability leadership award in recognition of successful implementation of projects that advance sustainability.