A community bird-safe window initiative.
A pollinator garden project.
A digital sustainable fashion week.
A podcast focused on pressing sustainability initiatives.
A campaign to implement green laboratory practices and programs.
A student-led sustainability blog.
What do these projects have in common? Well, our students at the University of Guelph are bringing these ideas to life through a shared vision for a sustainable future. Students are using the University of Guelph campus as a "living laboratory" to cultivate our sustainability culture and improve campus life.
We strongly believe students need to be partnered with and empowered through leadership opportunities that they help co-design. This program allows students to co-create volunteer opportunities that interest them and that work for their schedules.
Note: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all Sustainability Ambassador projects are virtual for Fall 2020/Winter 2021 semesters. All projects must be following the latest public health guidelines set by Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health.
Who are the Sustainability Ambassadors?
Sustainability Ambassadors are undergraduate and graduate students making a change on campus by leading or volunteering for action-focused projects. This program was created to help students develop, scale, and lead their solution-oriented projects. Many of these projects aim to target the root problems of many of today's most pressing sustainability issues. Any active leaders, as well as volunteers of the designated projects that are detailed below, are known as Sustainability Ambassadors.
So, if you have an idea for a sustainability-related project you'd like to bring to the University of Guelph, we're here to help.
Why Become a Sustainability Ambassador?
- You'll gain a greater understanding of campus and community sustainability.
- You can learn how to mobilize other students, staff, and faculty to take action on pressing issues.
- You will have plenty of opportunities to earn eligible volunteer hours for your WWF Living Planet Leader certification.
- You'll have an opportunity to access mentorship and networking opportunities through the Sustainability Office.
- You will receive first notifications to opportunities volunteering with the Sustainability Office's upcoming campaigns.
- You'll receive recognition as a sustainability leader on campus through the Sustainability Ambassador title.
- You will develop professional and personal skills that can elevate your resume.
- You'll get to connect with other like-minded students, staff, and faculty who are interested in tackling pressing sustainability issues.
- You'll be helping foster and enhance the University of Guelph's unique sustainability culture.
- You'll be shaping the future of the University of Guelph campus through contributing to action-oriented projects.
Becoming a Sustainability Ambassador
The Sustainability Ambassador Program is open to undergraduate and graduate students from any academic program.
All projects are currently virtual so that volunteering can be done remotely. Most projects offer flexibility in terms of volunteer tasks based on your availability and schedule.
Have an idea that you want to pitch to our program? or are you working on a project and need support and guidance? Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to book a project development session.
Want to stay updated with our projects? Email our Sustainability Ambassador Coordinators at email@example.com to be added to our weekly newsletter list-serv.
Current Sustainability Ambassador Projects (Winter 2021-Summer 2021)
The Sustainable Student
The Sustainable Student is a by the students, for the students' blog focused on social and environmental sustainability. Posts range from coverage of community initiatives, features on individuals leading change to even highlights of businesses going beyond business as usual. This blog is full of pieces that were contributed by University of Guelph students or community members.
If you're interested in contributing a piece, please email firstname.lastname@example.org to contact our student blog manager. All interested writers will be sent a copy of our blog writing resource guide.
This initiative is currently recruiting volunteers to assist with social media management, outreach, and blog editing. To get involved, please email email@example.com.
If you're interested in staying updated with the latest posts, follow the @sustainablestudentuog on Instagram.
Retro Runway is a student-led organization working to promote sustainable and ethical fashion through virtual educational events and resources shared on social media.
This past fall, Retro Runway hosted a virtual sustainable fashion week that received over 150 entries to their daily outfit challenges that promoted students to create outfits out of clothing they already owned. Winners of the giveaway won e-gift cards to support the local businesses in Retro Runway's sustainable fashion show in March 2020.
This past winter 2021 semester, Retro Runway created a digital magazine called Circl, which analyzes ethics and sustainability in the fashion industry. This magazine features fashion-focused opinion editorials, articles, and spotlights on local designers in the Guelph community.
You can access the published magazine here: https://online.fliphtml5.com/flqkk/gxdl/#p=1.
Follow Retro Runway on Instagram at @RetroRunway to stay updated on their future events, projects, and call for volunteers.
Bird-Safe Guelph is a student-led group working to help local birds survive and thrive. They aim to educate and engage the Guelph community to empower them to take action on bird conservation.
One way they plan to do this is through their bird-safe window kit initiative. This initiative will provide community members with free educational material and kits that allow them to transform their windows at home to be bird-safe.
This initiative is part of the Eco-Leadership Journey, and Chantiers Jeunesse and WWF-Canada have provided their initial funding.
Are you interested in getting involved with Bird-Safe Guelph? Email the project lead Hayley at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can learn more about this initiative by visiting these news features:
The Crisis Unfolded podcast was founded by Nidhi and Satya Boodoo, undergraduate students completing degrees in Environmental Science.
They created this podcast to spread awareness and document various current pressing environmental issues and unfolding crises.
They plan to gather information and stories from University of Guelph researchers and community members on each podcast episode's featured topic. They aim to create an engaging community amongst listeners by making podcast episodes engaging with feasible calls to action.
All of the podcast episodes will be available to air on the Sustainable Student blog under Crisis Unfolded.
Have an idea for an episode? Want to collab on an episode? Email email@example.com to contact the podcast hosts.
Pollinator Conservation Project
With the global decline in pollinator populations, the University of Guelph recognized an opportunity to become a leader in protecting, promoting, and celebrating pollinators and ecological services they prove. Thinking globally and acting locally, the University of Guelph became the second university in Canada to pledge a commitment to protect pollinators and their habitat. Students have taken the vision of a pollinator-friendly campus and brought it to life by leading a native-pollinator habitat creation project behind our largest student residence.
The first phase of this project took place in October 2020. This phase included an initial plant of native species in two designated garden beds. We will be posting updates on the garden's progress in the spring of 2021 when we move into the second planting phase.
This project has received two grants from WWF Canada's Go Wild program.
We are currently recruiting a communications co-lead and general volunteers to take on various tasks including event planning, outreach to other organizations, and note-taking at meetings.
If you're interested in getting involved with this conservation project, please email Samantha at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sustainable Labs Project
This new project will be promoting and creating laboratory-based sustainability practices and initiatives. This project will empower students, staff, and faculty to reduce the environmental impact of their research activities.
Currently, this student project aims to launch a lab coat reuse program next year. This semester, they are looking for people interested in planning this project and completing the CSA accreditation requirements this summer.
To get involved with this project, email Samantha at email@example.com to contact the project lead and be added to the Team page.
Fashion Revolution Week
Our latest Sustainability Ambassador project is a collaborative Sustainable Fashion week in partnership with McMaster's Academic Sustainability Office to showcase various individuals tackling various issues within the fashion industry. This themed week will feature resource guides, spotlights on initiatives, and will include a digital screening event for the documentary 'The True Cost' with sustainable/upcycled door prizes and actionable items folks can participate in.
This week is currently in progress, so no additional volunteers are required. However, you can learn more and support Fashion Revolution Week by following McMaster's Sustainability Office on Instagram, Izzy's Imperfect Items at @IzzyImperfectItems, and Retro Runway at @RetroRunway.
Past Sustainability Ambassador Projects
UofG Free Store
The UofG Free store is a pop-up market that rehomes items for free of cost to the UofG community. Donated items include textbooks, mugs, home decor, and home goods. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this project has been paused until we're able to return to campus and re-launch our pop-up free stores safely.
If you're interested in helping re-launch this project, we are looking for volunteers to assist with making UofG Free Store marketing materials and promotional material to use when the project relaunches. Any interested volunteers can email Samantha at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about this opportunity.
Drop And Cop UofG
Drop & Cop is a fully student-run sustainable clothing exchange. This organization is now recognized as an official CSA club. Their goal is to break the cycle of fast fashion by demonstrating that you don't have to compromise aesthetics to be ethical.
In accordance with public health and UofG guidelines, Drop & Cop is not hosting physical events for the foreseeable future. However, they are have launched virtual Workshop Wednesdays, where they post sustainable content on their Instagram @dropandcop.uofg.
Bag Bank Guelph
Guelph's BagBank is a student-led reusable bag sharing initiative to reduce the use of single-use plastic grocery bags. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this initiative has been paused until we're able to return to campus and can run a reusable bag share program safely.
To stay updated on this initiative, you can follow them on Instagram at @bagbankguelph.