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 report explores how daylighting be integrated into the City's plans for the restoration of Trout Lake waterway between Trout Lake and False Creek Flats. It includes a context map and background, key policy linkages, design principles, and a concept plan.

Partner: City of Vancouver
Keywords: access to nature, water

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2013
Niall McGarvey

The primary purpose of this report is to explore the potential means of addressing the contamination of recycling and food scraps at city-serviced events. The secondary purpose of this report is to explore the means by which the City of Vancouver might encourage the adoption of contamination- and waste-reduction strategies by event organizers. Finally, the report provides recommendations regarding potential ways that the City’s Sanitation Operations could enable the minimization of waste through the logistical and advisory supports that are provided to event organizers.

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

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2013
Annie Merritt

This report identifies the challenges and opportunities of returning the 800-block of Robson Street to its pedestrian roots on a permanent basis. Using case studies from around the world, this report provides examples of how streets can contribute to, rather than detract from the pedestrian experience on Robson Square. This study provides a variety of options and inspirations that can be used to create a truly vibrant public space in the heart of downtown Vancouver.

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

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2013
Ryan O'Connor

This report outlines the goals and actions to be undertaken as part of the Idle Management Program. By using change management best practices, the Vancouver Police Department (VPD) can successfully implement the new idle management technology (IdleRIght2), along with new driving practices to achieve high compliance. Consultation with VPD patrol officers has been an important part of planning the Idle Management Program. Recommendations in this report were made on the basis of feedback from the patrol officers who will be most impacted by this practice change.

Partner: City of Vancouver
Keywords: lighter footprint, transportation

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2013
Erin Rennie

The purpose of this literature review is to create an understanding of water use feedback strategies and their effectiveness in reducing water consumption. Due to the lack of academic literature, particularly for Institutional, Commercial and Industrial (ICI) water users, information was integrated from the energy sector and energy conservation literature. The summary identifies key points of reference from various fields spanning behavioral economics, conservation psychology, business operations and human-computer interactions from computer science.

Partner: City of Vancouver
Keywords: lighter footprint, water

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2013
Hana Sherin Galal

This paper examines the role Business Improvement Associations (BIAs) and their members could play in reaching the City's Greenest City Action Plan targets. In particular, this work draws on existing literature and interviews with BIA executives throughout the City to evaluate potential impacts of a Green Small Business Awards initiative.

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

PDF
2012
Hamish Stewart

This project provides a description of research methods for studying the health impacts of active transportation projects. It details study types, challenges, measures of health and measurement tools. 

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

PDF
2012
Anastasia Frank

This project attempts to answer the question “What is the highest and best use of organic solid waste: production of compost or production of energy?” As the City of Vancouver is determined to divert solid waste from going to the landfill or incinerator by 50% from 2008 levels, organic waste diversion is an important strategy in achieving that goal. This report outlines the results of an organic waste audit and environmental assessment of 1) demolition waste, 2) yard waste from CIty operated programs, and 3) food waste to understand the relative suitability of composting versus anaerobic digestion as a solution. 

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

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2012
Siduo Zhang

The diversion of organics from multi-family homes in the City of Vancouver is a critical component of meeting the Greenest City Action Plan target of reducing the amount of landfilled or incinerated solid waste by 50% compared to 2008 levels. The purpose of this investigation was to evaluate the environmental impacts of a centralized composting program versus the use of garburators (herein referred to as food waste disposers, FWDs) as organic waste management strategies for multi-family residences in the City of Vancouver.

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

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2012
Alison McKenzie

This report is intended to inform the development of a local community-based program aimed at encouraging increased residential tree planting throughout Vancouver. While a number of non-profit organisations have developed programming that mobilises community participation on issues of environmental stewardship and urban forestry, there has been no sustained and systematic campaign that engages residents to enhance the city’s urban forest through planting on private property. This report identifies pertinent best practices that have emerged from efforts happening within North America.

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

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2012
Jason Hsieh

Chinese residents in Vancouver have a high awareness of and interest in sustainability, but have a lower level of participation in the Greenest City 2020 Action Plan. This project aims to understand this gap in participation by addressing how the City of Vancouver can better engage the broader Chinese community in taking action towards meeting the Greenest City goals and supporting a one-planet ecological footprint. Recommendations for planning a multicultural engagement strategy include: building connections, employing eco-champions, parallel Greenest City multi-cultural branding, and developing a targetted program.

Partner: City of Vancouver
Keywords: social sustainability, sustainability in education

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2012
Krystie Babalos

This report provides an evaluation of the applicability of a road rating system to the road construction practices of the City of Vancouver public works. A road rating system is a collection of best practices that can be utilized to achieve sustainable road construction. The primary objective of using a road rating system is to identify the level of sustainable measures within specific projects and gauge success factors against other projects. This report focuses on five road rating systems, including Greenroads, GreenLITES, INVEST, I-LAST, STEED.

Partner: 2012-07
Keywords: green buildings, transportation

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2012
Kamal Abdul

This research project focuses on an urban water body in Vancouver that has the potential to optimize ecological, recreational and cultural uses while decreasing the use of potable water. The question posed is: Can Trout Lake be a natural swimming lake, reducing the amount of potable water used and improving water quality through approaches such as a constructed wetland? And, are there comparable examples world wide that can be used as a precedent for future works at Trout Lake?

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

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2012
Christine Cooper

The main objective of this research was to observe the circumstances in which patrol officers in the Vancouver Police Department (VPD) idle their vehicles and for how long. During the research, officer comments and suggestions were  recorded to gain a better understanding of their attitude towards idling and sustainability. The information from this report will inform the VPD about drivers’ idling behaviour and guide decisions about vehicle improvements. In addition, this report will address alternative ways to reduce idling that can serve as a complement to anti-idle technology.

Partner: City of Vancouver
Keywords: green transportation, transportation

PDF
2012
Katie O'Callaghan

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