Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 67.16
Liaison Mike Versteege
Submission Date June 24, 2020
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

University of Alberta
EN-3: Student Life

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Prachi Mishra
Associate Project Planner
Sustainability Council
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Does the institution have one or more active student groups focused on sustainability?:

A brief description of active student groups focused on sustainability:


Campus Vert is a student run club that is committed to respecting the environment at Campus Saint-Jean at the University of Alberta. By organizing Sustainable Development Week, Campus Vert raises awareness on environmental issues among students, teachers, and staff.


The Augustana Earthwise Club focuses on the betterment of the students’ earth‐friendly lifestyles on campus in order to promote the health of the earth in all aspects of their lives. Earthwise offers students the opportunity to connect with and develop a deeper understanding of environmental issues in a supportive, fun social setting. Earthwise sets up opportunities for leadership, public speaking, and interacting with a diverse audience. Earthwise also regularly hosts sustainability oriented events on campus. They hosted Sustainability Week which featured events, such as 'Make Your Own Beeswax Wrap', a clothing swap, and distributed free reusable cups.


The EcoCar Team at the University of Alberta is a student-run engineering organization that designs and builds hydrogen fuel cell powered vehicles. The team primarily races at the annual Shell Eco-Marathon Americas, and have competed at the Driver’s World Championship in Europe.Through participation in these competitions the team hopes to raise awareness about different automotive technologies and provide a showpiece for sustainable and innovative solutions. The team also plans to become heavily involved in the local community. The goal is to raise awareness in as many ways as possible, including school visits (elementary to high school), presentations about alternative energies, involvement in the Edmonton Auto Show, as well as creating a visible presence across the University of Alberta. The Eco Car team has also presented at Sustainability Awareness Week and the Student Sustainability Summit.


Healthnuts is a student group at the University of Alberta committed to achieving sustainability while providing opportunities to learn, socialize, and feast as a community. By providing students with free instructive kitchens financed by fundraisers, Healthnuts' goal is to educate and promote healthier lifestyles and food choices. Their regularly scheduled kitchens intend to teach basic cooking and budgeting skills in a student based learning environment that is open and friendly. They strive to provide the public with informative and accurate nutritional information as well as present students on campus with the basics of cooking nutritional meals on a budget.


The Health and Wellness Movement is a student organization committed to transforming the University of Alberta into a healthier university. They strive to promote smarter food choices, more effective stress management, and ultimately, healthier living. A number of student-driven initiatives are continuously being spearheaded that intend to spark interest in the Health and Wellness Movement and raise awareness among the university community. They organize various events and initiatives, such as fresh fruit stands, free fitness events, an Amazing Race, and an annual Health Week to support students in their health and wellness journey.


Net Impact's mission is to inspire, educate, and equip individuals to use the power of business to create a more socially and environmentally sustainable world. Open to the Faculty of Business graduate students, Net Impact helps establish a professional network with other like-minded individuals who have demonstrated their commitment to corporate social responsibility. Their events and professional development help their members put their beliefs into action through sustainability efforts, leading to increased sustainability job opportunities after graduation. Net Impact's consulting projects also give students the chance to experience the world of management consulting. Consulting projects allow students to explore the consulting world, gaining better understanding of issues facing the community, and applying business acumen to help these organizations prosper. Net Impact gives students the opportunity to make a meaningful social and environmentally sustainable impact in their community.


Ever since its inception in 2017, this club's mission is to spread awareness about the feasibility and importance of green energy (including solar photovoltaic and wind generation) both for the environment and the economy. So far, this club has spearheaded projects such as: a solar-powered phone charging station to be installed in the Students’ Union Building at the University of Alberta, a wind turbine design contest, and a net-zero green housing project. They have also presented at events such as Sustainability Awareness Week. Renewable Energy Design Club has also hosted sessions for students to discuss topics such as the integration of engineering and permaculture.


Sustain SU is a service of the University of Alberta Students’ Union (SU) that provides peer-to-peer learning and support for all undergraduate students to incorporate sustainability into every aspect of their university experience. This includes providing sustainability-based services to the entire campus community, as well as opportunities to facilitate change on a larger scale. Sustain SU runs programs such as the Bike Library, Farmers' Market, Resusable Dish Program, Campus Community Garden and a blog.


The purpose of the University of Alberta Energy Club is to promote energy awareness in the university community and to explore solutions that meet society's energy requirements. These solutions include new economic, technological and sociological mechanisms that align global energy demand with our generation capability. They encourage entrepreneurship, environmental awareness and clean technologies.

The website URL where information about the student groups is available (optional):

Does the institution have gardens, farms, community supported agriculture (CSA) or fishery programs, and/or urban agriculture projects where students are able to gain experience in organic agriculture and sustainable food systems?:

A brief description of the gardens, farms, community supported agriculture (CSA) or fishery programs, and/or urban agriculture projects:


The Saint-Jean Community Garden is a community space made up of several plots of land that are allocated each year for gardening purposes, allowing individuals from Campus-Saint Jean, University of Alberta, and the surrounding Bonnie Doon neighbourhood to gather in a friendly and respectful environment to grow fruits, vegetables, herbs and /or flowers, to exchange gardening knowledge, to promote urban agriculture, and to foster a better understanding of food systems and respect for the environment. Volunteers use water responsibly, compost garden waste, and don't apply any pesticides, herbicides, or synthetic fertilizers.

There are 36 plots in the CSJ Community Garden, including a few special plots:
- Community Plot: one plot in which perennials and herbs are grown for the use of all gardeners.
- Collective Plots: one to three plots each season dedicated to serving the greater good of the larger community, through food donation to local food banks and community groups, and by serving educational purposes for local francophone schools and organizations, including for CSJ students, French immersion programs and other French speaking organizations.

All members of the CSJ community garden are expected to work collaboratively, to always place community needs ahead of personal ones, and to spend time working to support the collective plots.


The Faculty of ALES has some of the most comprehensive agricultural and environmental research and teaching infrastructure in the world, including:
- Rangeland Research Insitute. A 12,000-acre ranch located near Duchess, in southeast AB, it supports research and teaching in rangeland ecology and management, including grassland ecology, wildlife management, grazing systems and cow-calf management, carbon sequestration and storage, impacts of climate change on rangelands, the establishment, production harvesting and storage of forages, land reclamation and water resources management.
- Breton Plots. Located near Breton, 100 km southwest of Edmonton, the Breton Plots provide a model of how diverse cropping practices affect typical Gray Luvisolic soils. They are currently used to assess the interactions between the global environment, crop productivity and soil quality.


The Green & Gold Community Garden is a community garden with a difference - a garden with both local and global benefits. The garden is run by volunteers and their produce is grown using organic gardening practices, with no pesticides or herbicides. The garden is open to the public during twice-weekly markets, when freshly picked produce is available for a donation based on fair market prices. All of the proceeds go towards supporting the Tubahumurize Association in Rwanda.

In 2013, Adopt a Heritage Chicken Program was started to promote the conservation of unique genetic lines of poultry at the University of Alberta.


The Prairie Urban Farm (PUF) is a one-acre, mixed crop, community food system. PUF believes the lack of resilience of current agri-food systems is a serious concern. PUF aims to demonstrate and provide skill-building opportunities in alternative, regenerative ways of growing food in an urban context. By giving community members access to sufficient, safe, and nutritious food, PUF is strengthening Edmonton's food security.


The Campus Community Garden is a completely volunteer run shared garden plot. In addition to creating an exciting nature-driven recreational experience for the campus community our mandate includes:

- Providing the campus community with food that is locally and sustainably grown.
- Promoting urban agriculture by teaching campus community members sustainable gardening practices.
- Contributing food security on campus by providing a portion of our harvest to the Campus Food Bank.
- Fostering a strong and vibrant community of neighbourhood gardeners.


The University of Alberta Botanic Garden (formerly the Devonian Botanic Garden) is a stunning 97 hectare (240-acre) property located in Parkland County, 15 minutes southwest of Edmonton, with cultivated gardens and plant collections, indoor showhouses, and extensive natural areas. Along with public education and display gardens, research at the Garden is an important activity. Through all of its activities, the University of Alberta Botanic Garden aims to share the discovery and knowledge of plants. The University of Alberta Botanic Garden has been the site of research on topics as diverse as fungal associations, mosses, forest fires, bat and frog monitoring, oilsands and wetland reclamation, and getting children to appreciate the outdoors through dramatic play. The Garden is part of a global network of botanic gardens working to understand and preserve biodiversity. The University of Alberta Botanic Garden is a unit of the Faculty of Agricultural, Life and Environmental Sciences at the University of Alberta.

The website URL where information about the gardens, farms or agriculture projects is available (optional):

Does the institution have student-run enterprises that include sustainability as part of their mission statements or stated purposes (e.g. cafés through which students gain sustainable business skills)?:

A brief description of the student-run enterprises:


The University of Alberta Farmers' Market is coordinated by Sustain SU, a student-run sustainability service operating under the undergraduate Students’ Union. The market is organized by the Farmers' Market Coordinator with the support of several Sustain SU Campus Sustainability Volunteers. The market runs from September to April on Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the main floor of the Students' Union Building. The program is planned and implemented almost exclusively by student staff and volunteers. Participants gain the following business skills: marketing and communications planning and implementation; recruitment and retention of vendors; developing working relationships with vendors; increasing knowledgeable of liability requirements and enforcing market procedures; collecting and processing payments from vendors; and logistical requirements for market operations, including placement of booths

The website URL where information about the student-run enterprises is available (optional):

Does the institution have sustainable investment funds, green revolving funds or sustainable microfinance initiatives through which students can develop socially, environmentally and fiscally responsible investment and financial skills?:

A brief description of the sustainable investment funds, green revolving funds or sustainable microfinance initiatives:

The website URL where information about the sustainable investment funds, green revolving funds or sustainable microfinance initiatives is available (optional):

Does the institution have conferences, speaker series, symposia or similar events related to sustainability that have students as the intended audience?:

A brief description of the conferences, speaker series, symposia or similar events related to sustainability:


The Student Sustainability Summit is a joint initiative between the Sustainabiltiy Council and Sustain SU. The summit takes place annually in February and brings together students in a manner that encourages awareness, collaboration, and action on sustainability initiatives at the university and beyond. Students and student groups wishing to effect change are provided with the tools, resources, and contacts necessary to do so. Moreover, the summit fills a recognized gap in the sustainability and local organizations outside of the university by providing students with opportunities to interact with leaders in sustainability from different community organizations. The summit also features the sustainability done within the university community by organizing panels on research and academia and their role in sustainability work. In February 2020, over 80 students from five Albertan post-secondary institutions attended the summit. This was the university's eleventh summit.


This speaker series gives people the opportunity to be exposed to new ideas, promote understanding about the diversity of topics involved in sustainability, and expand the dialogue about sustainability. This speaker series is held annually during International Week hosted by the University of Alberta International. Over the past six years, 19 speakers have been a part of this program, including Vien Truong, Amy Leurs, Edward Burtynsky, and Raj Patel.


In September 2019, the Sustainability Council initiated an ongoing lecture series exploring local expertise and global innovation across all fields of sustainability. This lecture series occurred monthly or biweekly, and featured scholars from the University of Alberta and beyond in fields ranging from engineering to ecology, public health to poetry, native studies to nanotechnology. These lecture series are open to the University of Alberta community and the larger Edmonton public.


SAW educates and motivates the campus community to live a more sustainable lifestyle. This annual series of events offers thousands of participants the opportunity to become more aware of sustainability issues, learn more about campus sustainability, and develop sustainability skills. Running since 2008, SAW is a week filled with dozens of events coordinated by many sustainability-related campus and off-campus organizations. The target audiences for many of the SAW events are: students, staff, faculty, and the community at large.

The website URL where information about the conferences, speaker series, symposia or similar events related to sustainability is available (optional):
Does the institution have cultural arts events, installations or performances related to sustainability that have students as the intended audience?:

A brief description of the cultural arts events, installations or performances related to sustainability:


The Sweetgrass Bear, by Stewart Steinhauer, is part of the university’s efforts to work toward respectful, meaningful reconciliation with Indigenous people. A bear sculpture has been installed in three locations including Augustana Campus, Faculty of Extension and North Campus.


This dance brings together children, friends, families, youth and Elders of our community to share stories, catch up on news, break bannock, and share some tea. It is a time to honour traditions and memories of our ancestors. Everyone is welcome.


As part of the Kick Off to Sustainability Awareness Week, the Sustainability Council hosted Green Mics, a sustainability themed artistic performance. Green Mic is a spoken word and musical event, which features songs and poetry on climate change and sustainability. This event features award-winning Poet Laureate Ahmed Ali, also known as Knowmadic, Matthew Weigel, and Dr. John Acorn, creator of the popular TV show ‘Nature Nut


During the lunch time of the Student Sustainability Summit 2020, local comedian Mav Adecer performed a routine on climate change anxiety, cartoons, and tackling the root problem of the era of the anthropocene.


At the beginning of the Student Sustainability Summit 2020, we hosted a dance workshop that featured traditional Afro and Latin movements to invigorate participants while simultaneously introducing them to the cultures that oftentimes are intertwined with indigenous resistance. This workshop was led by the founders of La Connexional, a cultural enterprise that strives to showcase the talents and contributions of the African, Caribbean, and Latinx communities in Canada


International Week is the largest annual extracurricular educational event at the University of Alberta and fosters global citizenship through engagement with today's most pressing issues. The theme for International Week in 2020 was the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals, which featured speakers, events, and cultural performances. As part of International Week, there was a musical performance titled "Transpositions: Music for Resilient Sustainable Communities" by Thomas Mapfumo. This performance explored themes of human rights, justice, and music’s power to create a human connection and sustain humanity.

The website URL where information about the cultural arts events, installations or performances is available (optional):
Does the institution have wilderness or outdoors programs (e.g. that organize hiking, backpacking, kayaking, or other outings for students) that follow Leave No Trace principles?:

A brief description of the wilderness or outdoors programs that follow Leave No Trace principles:


The University of Alberta Outdoors Club (UAOC) has been an active club on campus for over 75 years. They offer a variety of outdoor trips, experiences, social events, educational opportunities, free equipment rentals, local retail discounts, and an opportunity for the most experienced and inexperienced to challenge themselves in a variety of activities. They run all of their trips at cost with the help of local sponsors and a dedicated team of volunteer executives. In the past, club activities have included camping, hiking, scrambling, climbing, canoeing, rafting, mountain biking, backcountry trips, skiing, snow shoeing, ice climbing, winter camping, weekly runs, pond hockey, and an annual New Year’s trip to California.

UAOC provides countless opportunities for their members to participate in outdoor pursuits thereby fostering a community of outdoor enthusiasts. The core ethos of the UAOC includes environmental stewardship and sustainability and as a club we actively advocate for our community to experience, explore, and connect with natural landscapes. As such, they have a Sustainability Mandate for its executives. It is the executives' responsibility to continue being role models in environmental stewardship and awareness. The club strives to interact responsibly with the natural spaces and making club operations as sustainable as possible. The "Leave No Trace" principle is outlined in section 1.2.3 of the club's constitution: "to foster respect for the environment and have as little impact on nature as possible ('leave no trace')" and in Article 12.1: "That we will leave the natural spaces that we pass through in a better state, and commit to acting sustainably."

The website URL where information about the wilderness or outdoors programs is available (optional):

Does the institution have sustainability-related themes chosen for themed semesters, years, or first-year experiences (e.g. choosing a sustainability-related book for common reading)?:

A brief description of the sustainability-related themes chosen for themed semesters, years, or first-year experiences:

The website URL where information about the sustainability-related themes is available (optional):

Does the institution have programs through which students can learn sustainable life skills?:

A brief description of the programs through which students can learn sustainable life skills:


The first year online orientation and student staff training for all students living in residence features a module on learning about sustainability in residence; it focuses primarily on correctly sorting recyclables and organics, with some additional information on sustainable events and initiatives that residents can participate in during their time at UAlberta.


Residents in Lister Hall and East Campus residences celebrate Sustainability Week during which outreach activities and materials teach residents how to lead a sustainable lifestyle in residence. This event is led by student-staff.

The website URL where information about the sustainable life skills programs is available (optional):

Does the institution offer sustainability-focused student employment opportunities?:

A brief description of the sustainability-focused student employment opportunities offered by the institution:


Sustain SU provides employment opportunities that allow students to become involved in sustainability-based services, as well as larger-scale cultural change. These positions include the Sustain SU Coordinator, Bicycle Mechanic, Campus Gardens Assistant, Reusable Dish Program Coordinator, and Farmers' Market Coordinator.


Interns work part-time from mid-August to April with mandatory, paid training in early August. The internship runs from mid August to end of May. These positions are open to undergraduate and graduate students. The program focuses on developing skills in program development, outreach, leadership, evaluation and communications. Interns become familiar with the University of Alberta’s sustainability initiatives. The Sustainability Council's interns gain real world experience toward a career in sustainability and education. Interns also have the option to conduct original research and help set the organization's course for years to come.


Sustainability Scholars was founded by the University of Alberta and the City of Edmonton. Since 2015, it has grown to include close to a dozen municipal, corporate and institutional partners. These partnerships create unparalleled opportunity for graduate students to share their ideas and innovations, and to also learn best practices from working professionals. The program is designed to develop University of Alberta graduate students' professional aptitudes, especially in sustainability-related career fields. Scholars have worked on climate action plans, energy improvements in affordable housing, wildlife tracking, groundbreaking energy storage, green building standards, and more. These projects enable our graduate students to apply their hard-earned knowledge to real-world challenges. As a result, real progress is made to shift the Edmonton area toward sustainability and climate resilience.

The website URL where information about the student employment opportunities is available:

Does the institution have graduation pledges through which students pledge to consider social and environmental responsibility in future job and other decisions?:

A brief description of the graduation pledges:

The website URL where information about the graduation pledges is available (optional):

Does the institution have other co-curricular sustainability programs and initiatives?:

A brief description of the other co-curricular sustainability programs and initiatives:

The website URL where information about other co-curricular sustainability programs and initiatives is available (optional):

Estimated percentage of students (full-time and part-time) that participate annually in sustainability-focused co-curricular education and outreach programs (0-100):

Additional documentation to support the submission:


Behn Jang
Program Coordinator
Energy Management and Sustainable Operations
Facilities & Operations

Macey Edem Nortey
Team Lead
Student Services
Students' Union

Michelle Kim
Program Lead
Sustain SU
Students' Union

Maja Osmanagić
Program Lead
Academic Program & Initiatives
Sustainability Council

The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution or simply email your inquiry to stars@aashe.org.