The Sustainability Scholars Program is an innovative paid internship program. We match UBC graduate students with on- and off-campus sustainability partners to work on applied research projects that advance sustainability across the region.
Apply your research skills to real-world sustainability challenges
Get paid and gain valuable professional work experience
Develop applied skills and knowledge under the guidance of a mentor
Build your professional network and enhance your career prospects

How It Works

The program is open to full-time UBC graduate students from any program or discipline. As a Sustainability Scholar, you work under the guidance of a mentor on an applied research project that supports their organization's sustainability goals.

Apply

UBC Sustainability Scholars work on applied research projects across a wide range of environmental, economic and social sustainability topics. See our list of current paid internship opportunities.

Project Library

The Scholars Project Library contains hundreds of reports, charts, tool-kits, and more, documenting the applied research produced by Scholars since 2010. A useful body of knowledge to support further research around sustainability.

Meet the scholars

UBC Sustainability Scholars come from all kinds of backgrounds and academic disciplines. Scholars stand out for being passionate about sustainability, having a strong work ethic, and for their applied research skills.

Partner with us

Partner organizations are essential to the UBC Sustainability Scholars Program. Partners provide work experience for UBC graduate students and benefit from their applied research.

About Scholars

Sustainability Scholars’ projects have been helping to move the dial on sustainability across the region for over 10 years. Find out more about our history, milestones, and impact.

Project Library

The purpose of this project was to explore the influence of campus environments (social, physical, financial, organizational, cultural, spiritual, academic, historical, policy, etc.) on the mental wellbeing of students, staff, and faculty, and to identify system-level strategies for enhancing mental wellbeing. An additional objective for VOICE 4 was to develop a process and framework for policy identification and analysis, and to pilot its use. 

Partner: UBCO: Institute for Healthy Living and Chronic Disease Prevention
Keywords: sustainability in education, social sustainability

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2017
Keskine Owusu Poku

VOICE 4 explores the influence of campus environments (social, physical, financial, organizational, cultural, spiritual, academic, historical, policy, etc.) on the mental wellbeing of students, staff, and faculty to identify system-level strategies for enhancing mental wellbeing. This project resulted in the development of a process and framework for policy identification and analysis, and a pilot of its use.

Partner: VP Students
Keywords: sustainability in education, social sustainability

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2017
Alexandria Davis

Graduate students’ relationships with their supervisors and their larger scholarly community at UBC are central to their academic progress, their student experiences, their potential as future scholars, and their overall wellbeing. The goal of this project was to understand the relationship between wellbeing and excellence in the graduate supervision context, identify current challenges to wellbeing within the context of graduate supervision, highlight key resources, professional development opportunities and potential pathway(s) of support, and share preliminary recommendations.

Partner: UBC Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies
Keywords: sustainability in education, social sustainability

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2017
Jocelyn Micallef

This project aims to research and define kindness contingencies, increase capacity for kindness among students, and liaise with faculty, students, chaplains, and members of faith community in order to further assess barriers to kindness on campus and involve them in the project. This report includes a literature review on kindness and an action plan for kindness week at UBC.

Partner: University Multifaith Chaplains Association
Keywords: leadership & behaviour change, social sustainability

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2017
Sara Thiessen

 SocialSport is an organization that connects newcomer families to sport and leisure programs for their children. The purpose of this project was to develop an evaluation framework for SocialSport.  The first phase involved conducting a literature review of the evaluation tools that were used in measuring integration for immigrants and refugees. The second phase involved conducting a literature review of the impact of participation in sports on the inclusion and integration of immigrants and refugees.

Partner: School of Kinesiology
Keywords: social sustainability

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2017
Wafa Asadian

The aim of the project is to promote walking at UBC by providing a package of resources that encourages members of the UBC campus community to integrate walking into their work or school day. Research to develop resouces was based on textual data from consultations with key stakeholders through one-on-one interviews and facilitated group discussions.

Partner: UBC Recreation
Keywords: social sustainability, sustainability in education

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2017
Devon Harlos

Resident urban Canada Geese were introduced into Metro Vancouver in the 1970s and have thrived in the urban environment. Vancouver and many other municipalities in North America are seeking ways to manage their Canada Geese populations, navigating complex political decisions trying to understand goose behaviours and human behaviours related to geese. The purpose of this report is to summarize the status of resident goose populations in the City of Vancouver and present management options to mitigate impacts from over-abundant geese in parks and other areas. 

Partner: City of Vancouver
Keywords: access to nature, biodiversity, ecological systems

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2016
Jennifer Rae Pierce

As a crucial species in the landscape, a primary character in local stories, and a foundational economic resource during colonial times, beavers are a cherished part of Canadian and First Nations’ wildlife and culture. After reaching a population low due to over-harvesting from the fur trade, beavers have now made a strong comeback across North America, including the city of Vancouver. The goal of this report is to improve management of beavers in the city through more informed decision-making.

Partner: City of Vancouver
Keywords: access to nature, biodiversity, ecological systems

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2016
Jennifer Rae Pierce

The purpose of this projects was to determine the long-term spatial and temporal patterns of E. coli and fecal coliform concentrations in False Creek in order to improve our understanding of the sources of E. coli.

Partner: City of Vancouver
Keywords: access to nature, water, waste management & recycling

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2016
Cassandra Cummings

This project explores the potential for using water sub-meters as a method for increasing water efficiency and reducing water wastage in public and private facilities within the City of Vancouver. Water sub-metering refers to the use of secondary meters (in addition to a master meter) to measure water consumption of an individually leased space, piece of equipment or unit.

Partner: City of Vancouver
Keywords: clean water, waste management & recycling, water

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2016
Chloe Sher

This report was produced to support the City of Vancouver’s Greenest City 2020 Action Plan. A topsoil requirement is one of the key tools that the City can use to meet its water conservation and rainwater management goals. This report summarizes the need for both improved water conservation and rainwater management in Vancouver; presents the benefits of topsoil for both of these aspects, among others; and puts forth recommended next steps for the City to get started on a topsoil requirement.

Partner: City of Vancouver
Keywords: clean water, ecological systems

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2016
Jenna Cook

This project supports Goal 2 (Green Buildings) of the Greenest City Strategy and focusses on determining how heat recovery ventilation (HRV) systems are being installed and operated in single family homes. The study included 18 single family homes across the City of Vancouver where the HRV unit was assessed on its proper installation, operation and cleanliness of filters.

Partner: City of Vancouver
Keywords: green buildings

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2016
Brady Faught

The goal of this project is identifying barriers to window replacements in multiunit residential buildings (MURBs)  and to make recommendations to use high quality windows and best practice installation techniques in existing built rental buildings and condominiums.

Partner: City of Vancouver
Keywords: green buildings

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2016
Sahar Badiei

This project aims to support the commercialization of innovative green products and services through the mobilization of unused or marginal land for the purposes of demonstration. The research was broadly defined at the outset as an exploration of opportunities for the Vancouver Economic Commission and City of Vancouver to support demonstration beyond the limitations of the Green and Digital Demonstration Program. 

Partner: City of Vancouver
Keywords: green economy, sustainable development & green economy

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2016
George Benson

This research project investigates Green Stormwater Infrastructure (GSI) on city streets in terms of its benefits and challenges, best practices, and lifecycle costs through a municipality survey, literature review, case studies, field studies, and personal interviews. The report summarizes the results of a North American peer municipality survey on GSI. The survey targeted American and Canadian municipalities with GSI or integrated rainwater/stormwater management programs, and was intended to collect lessons learned, best practices, and other technical information.

Partner: City of Vancouver
Keywords: healthy city, ecological systems, water

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2016
Jessica Jin

The City of Vancouver wants to become the greenest city in the world by 2020. In order to do so the Engineering Division needs to find a way to recycle or repurpose all of their road and utility construction waste. There is approximately 100,000 tonnes of construction waste that is not recycled each year. This project addresses this issue by exploring ways to improve current operations to increase recycling as well as investigating future opportunities for recycling the construction waste. 

Partner: City of Vancouver
Keywords: zero waste, green buildings, waste management & recycling

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2016
Sydnie Koch

The purpose of this project is to examine the feasibility of utilizing solar thermal and solar photovoltaic (PV) systems across the Park Board’s real estate in order to reach the 2020 greenhouse gas reduction targets and reduce utility bills. The reports includes a high­level design approach through software calculators used for modelling along with a cost-benefit analysis showing the energy potential, monetary savings, and payback period for each option.

Partner: City of Vancouver
Keywords: climate and renewables, green buildings

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2016
Benjamin Medina

The Vancouver Police Department (VPD) currently generates approximately 7000 kg of police uniform waste annually. This report explores available methods for disposing of decommissioned uniforms and evaluates them for security, environmental impact, and cost-effectiveness. The project promotes the City of Vancouver’s Greenest City Action Plan zero waste goals, and advances the VPD’s Code Green initiatives.

Partner: City of Vancouver
Keywords: lighter footprint, sustainable development & green economy, waste management & recycling

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2016
Alisa Koebel

This project resulted from a mandate to set sustainability standards for city-owned and operated buildings higher than the standards listed in the Vancouver Building By-Law (VBBL). The intent was for the city to lead by example in matters of ecological sustainability in the built environment. By creating a corporate (city-related) green building policy, the city would be able to test, on a smaller scale, the effectiveness and viability of various requirements that might later be incorporated on a larger scale in the private sector as part of the VBBL.

Partner: City of Vancouver
Keywords: green buildings

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2016
Eric Douglas

The City of Vancouver (City) has put forth ambitious goals to reduce community and operations based carbon emissions through the introduction of a Greenest City Action Plan (GCAP). In order to achieve these goals in the City’s operations, the City of Vancouver has turned to renewable fuels, and recently biodiesel and renewable diesel have garnered specific interest. Currently within the 3.8 million liters of diesel fuel used by the municipal fleet, 5.8% represents bio-derived content from the use of B5 and B20 blends of biodiesel. However, in order to increase fuel emission savings, a transition needs to be made to higher blends of renewable fuels. This report summarizes an investigation into the use of higher blends of biodiesel and renewable diesel in the Vancouver municipal fleet.

Partner: City of Vancouver
Keywords: lighter footprint, transportation

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2016
Michael Coulson

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