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

This document expands on the initial Conversations in Wellbeing Engagement Strategy project. The first document served as an engagement piece to frame the conversation and to get input from those already working to promote wellbeing on UBC campuses. This report reflects the feedback from the initial document. 

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

PDF
2015
Stephanie Aitken and Pariya Darvishzadeh

This report evaluates the challenges and opportunities of campus engagement. The document includes an explanation of Wellbeing at UBC, the ‘Conversations in Engagement’ project, a literature review, and the lessons learned from three vehicles for engagement including Staff Tune-ins, the Graduate Student Wellbeing Network, and the Faculty Wellbeing Cohort.

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

PDF
2015
Erika Sagert

The City of Surrey has set goals to reduce corporate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 20% before 2020 from 2009 levels. Building energy benchmarking encourages organizations to track energy use and compare it with similar buildings, helping to make energy a more salient issue for building owners and operators and to potentially identify opportunities for savings. This project consisted of benchmarking 44 buildings using Energy Star Portfolio Manager (ESPM) to obtain building energy performance ratings.

Partner: City of Surrey
Keywords: green buildings

PDF
2015
Sze Ting Tam

In order to better understand the toxic substances in building materials and furnishing, the Fraser Health Lower Mainland Facilities Management is focusing on the toxic substances in resilient flooring and fire stopping sealants used in acute and chronic care facilities. This report elucidates on the possible toxic substances used in 1) resilient flooring, their installation, care, and maintenance, and 2) fire stopping sealants.

Partner: Fraser Health
Keywords: green buildings, social sustainability, sustainable development & green economy 

PDF
2015
Ivan Cheung

 To support the energy and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reductions laid out in UBC’s Community Energy and Emissions Plan (CEEP) for residential neighbourhoods on campus, UBC is developing a building energy benchmarking strategy. This report explains one of the first initiatives in the strategy to implement a benchmarking pilot project that focuses on six multi-family rental buildings in UBC’s residential neighbourhood.

Partner: UBC Sustainability & Engineering
Keywords: green buildings

PDF
2015
Joshua Power

This report details a best practices review for building volunteerism capacity to support waste reduction at special events. The objectives of this research include: investigate best practices employed by other municipalities to engage volunteers as recycling educators at special events; and provide analysis and recommendations that could be used by the City to create and maintain volunteer resources and to promote waste diversion. 

Partner: City of Vancouver
Keywords: zero waste, social sustainability, waste management & recycling

PDF
2014
Angie Nicolas

This document combines current knowledge of inclusivity through the engagement of existing community garden guidelines; dialogues hosted by Can You Dig It (CYDI) Possibilities, and community coordinators and gardeners in Vancouver. The aim is to understand inclusivity in the Vancouver context; investigate current attributes of community gardens and their members; and provide assistance to leaders and gardeners in the creation of more welcoming and inclusive gardens. 

Partner: City of Vancouver
Keywords: healthy city, social sustainability, food systems

PDF
2014
Ashley Lowcock

The Vancouver Fire and Rescue Services are exploring options to reduce their fuel usage without sacrificing safety or effectiveness of their fleet. This study identified two strategies to explore: expanding the Medic vehicle program and moving some training from Chess Street Training Grounds to “satellite training locations” including Firehalls 9, 10, 15 ,17, 18, and City Hall. 

Partner: City of Vancouver
Keywords: lighter footprint, transportation

PDF
2014
Bethany Dobson

This report reviews the state of secure bike parking in Vancouver, including a review of the local and regional context, case studies, and best practices. It also provides recommendations for an easyPark pilot bike mobility centre, one of the actions identified in the City of Vancouver’s transportation plan. 

Partner: City of Vancouver
Keywords: green transportation, transportation

PDF
2014
Camille Lefrançois

This report was compiled with the objective of comparing the current practices of the Vancouver Police Department (VPD) property office with the disposal practices of other police agencies, as well as best practices in solid waste management. The report then makes recommendations on the opportunities that exist to move away from incineration of unclaimed property and towards options that allow for reuse and recycling. 

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

PDF
2014
Christa Brown

Emissions from gas vehicles negatively impact the environmental wellbeing of a city. Green initiatives that aim to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by replacing ageing internal combustion engine vehicles (ICEVs) with more environmentally friendly alternatives have been launched in numerous municipalities across Canada. The purpose of this project is to examine the feasibility of replacing the ageing 4-door administrative and detective fleet of Ford Fusions with electric vehicle (EV) alternatives at the Vancouver Police Department. 

Partner: City of Vancouver
Keywords: lighter footprint, transportation

PDF
2014
Daniel Wood

Literature review and case study synthesis on the benefits of heritage building conservation and how sustainability focused strategies may be applied to enhance both environmental performance and heritage conservation.

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

PDF
2014
Dennis Fan

This project focuses on building neighbourhood social resilience, specifically in regards to emergency preparedness as well as disaster response and recovery, which can be climate-related or otherwise. It includes a literature review, a best practices review, a Vancouver project inventory and a pilot study. 

Partner: City of Vancouver
Keywords: healthy city, social sustainability

PDF
2014
Eliana Chia

This report serves as a reference document on best practices and policies adopted by other cities to manage on-street parking in residential neighbourhoods. An emphasis is placed on residential parking permit schemes as well as other approaches that facilitate more effective on-street residential parking management. The report concludes by recommending some strategies that may be considered to improve management of on-street parking in Vancouver’s residential neighborhoods. 

Partner: City of Vancouver
Keywords: green transportation, transportation

PDF
2014
Glen Chua

This report explores how multiple Greenest City Action Plan strategies can be incorporated to increase connections to nature in the city within the design of characteristic urban landscapes. The strategies and other initiatives taking place in the city are the basis which informed the designs for a neighborhood park and major boulevard to show how these common urban spaces can bring quality nature experiences into our urban landscape. 

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

PDF
2014
Lindsey Fryett

The focus of the research study was to look at the chemical and physical parameters affecting the corrosion rate of water mains in the City, specifically cast iron water mains. This report contains information relevant for predicting the internal corrosion of cast iron drinking water mains.

Partner: City of Vancouver
Keywords: green buildings, water

PDF
2014
Mehdi Bagheri

The goal of this research is to extend the Campus as a Living Lab concept from the University of British Columbia to a “City as a Living Lab” including developing a roadmap for green innovation and technology demonstration in the False Creek Flats. From a distillation of the research questions, the objectives of this research have been simplified to the following: Identify demonstration sites and green technology ready to be demonstrated; and make recommendations for improvements on the current matching process. 

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

PDF
2014
Paul Save

This report explores the feasibility of converting fieldhouse(s) into place-based environmental education (PBEE) spaces in one or multiple biodiversity hot spots in the city. This research provides recommendations and next stepson three possible PBEE models that integrate urban environmental place-based learning approaches. A critical summary of a sample of Vancouver park fieldhouse locations with indoor and outdoor spaces and ecological surroundings is presented. An overview and assessment of existing environmental education partnerships and resources is also provided.

Partner: City of Vancouver
Keywords: ecological systems, biodiversity, social sustainability

PDF
2014
Rachel Roy

In an effort to encourage more residents and visitors to explore Vancouver on foot, information kiosks, were installed across the city displaying neighbourhood maps and destinations. A pilot project in 2012 informed a system-wide refresh of these kiosks. One of the assets created as a result of this refresh was a custom, digital map of Vancouver. This report identifies opportunities for the new digital wayfinding map with a particular emphasis on its potential to encourage more walking trips throughout the city.

Partner: City of Vancouver
Keywords: green transportation, social sustainability

PDF
2014
Robert White

The overarching question of this project is: What is the current state of anaerobic digestion (AD) around the world, and what factors influence the development of these system in urban settings? This report will provide an overview of the feasibility of locating, building, and operating an AD facility within the City of Vancouver, and under what conditions would a system prove most successful. 

Partner: City of Vancouver
Keywords: climate and renewables, waste

PDF
2014
Ryan Davis

Pages