Meet Lily Wilson, UGSRP's Student Intern

Posted on Thursday, April 8th, 2021

The University of Guelph's Sustainable Restaurant Project (UGSRP) is a group of students, faculty and community partners that are committed to working towards a more sustainable future for the restaurant industry. 

Every year an undergraduate student is hired as an intern to research their sustainability topics and goals, interviewing prominent speakers and discussing issues in the Canadian Restaurant Industry,

Meet this year's intern Lily Wilson, 2nd year Hospitality and Tourism Management major in a Q&A session.

Tell us a bit about yourself? Lily Wilson

My name is Lily Wilson!! I am currently in my second year at the University of Guelph in the business commerce- hospitality and tourism management program. I am from a small town called Grimsby, located on the waterfront, right in the heart of "Wine Country Ontario". On one end of town, we have the beautiful shoreline of Lake Ontario, on the other side, we have the grand Niagara Escarpment where you can see the grape fields roll on for days, tucked into the bench-land. I am someone who has always cared deeply about the health and vitality of our planet but as someone who was not very strong in the science area and was going into a business degree, I wasn't too sure how I could help our planet. That’s when I began University and was introduced to the topic of sustainability in my food and beverage management class. The food industry was so passionate about creating a sustainable system that would allow society and our planet to prosper in the future. This newly discovered strong passion for sustainability combined with my love for food set me onto a path with a desire to learn more about food systems and sustainable practices not only within the industry but in our communities, and daily lives.

Why did you choose HFTM?

When I was graduating from high school and began looking into possible University degree programs for me, I stumbled upon the Hospitality and Tourism Management program at the University of Guelph. I love to travel, I love food, and I love an unforgettable experience, so I knew at that exact moment this was the program for me. I felt that in this program I could get into a career path that not only allows me to provide people with these amazing experiences but also provides the opportunity for educating people on the importance of sustainability in these experiences.

What drew you to the UGSRP (University of Guelph Sustainable Restaurant Project) internship position? 

I was drawn to the UGSRP internship position because of Professor Bruce McAdams’ first year HTM*1700 Foodservice Management course. Through my experience in this course, I was opened to the importance of sustainability in the restaurant industry. It was crazy to me that I had no idea prior to this course just how damaging our habits with food and beverage were environmentally, socially, and economically. It was completely mind boggling and worrying that such an essential aspect of our daily lives and existence was extremely unsustainable. Learning about all the efforts the food and beverage industry were developing and implementing in regard to sustainability was inspiring, motivating, and made me want to learn more about this area in the industry. The experience and knowledge gained from his course definitely sparked a passion in me, so when I was presented with the opportunity of the internship position that would allow me to further explore this passion, I could not say no. 

Elaborate on your current position? 

As the UGSRP intern for the 2020/2021 year, I have the opportunity to explore specific topics of my interest related to sustainability in the food and beverage industry. I have chosen to focus my studies on the sustainability of breweries and different initiatives/ practices related to food waste management, and their impact on the industry as a whole. Through this experience, I have been able to research these extremely important issues and interview industry leaders on them to further expand my understanding of these issues, uploading my work onto the UGSRP blog. It has been an extremely inspiring and meaningful experience and I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to explore my passion in this position.

What does sustainability mean to you? Why is this important to you? 

When I think of sustainability, I think of doing something in a way that is environmentally, socially, and economically just that will meet the needs of today without compromising future generations abilities to meet their needs. Growing up on the Niagara Escarpment and spending my summers on the great lakes I was constantly surrounded by the beautiful nature of this landscape and all the resources and functions it provides. As I began to travel more, see more, and learn more about this planet it became extremely apparent to me that there was an ever-growing need to protect this planet and its resources. I want people and future generations to be able to see and experience all the beauty this planet has to offer but that is not possible unless we strive for and put in the efforts for change. That is why sustainability is so important to me.

You can find Lily's articles posted on the UGSRP BLOG.

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