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2022 Sustainability Awards Winners

Join us as we celebrate those who are leading sustainability on campus and within our community.

The annual Sustainability Awards recognize students, faculty and staff members for their outstanding contributions to our collective sustainable future.

These inspiring recipients are changing the landscape of what sustainability means at the University of Calgary by:

  • improving waste management;
  • tackling global scarcity issues;
  • advancing wastewater monitoring;
  • challenging food literacy with a sociocultural lens; and
  • advancing gender justice. 

Let us celebrate the recipients of this year's Sustainability Awards!

Dr. Teri Balser, PhD, provost and vice-president (academic) at the University of Calgary introduces the 2022 Annual Sustainability Awards.


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Meet the 2022 winners

Undergraduate Award

Neocycle, iGEM Calgary

Tackling the long-term challenges surrounding rare earth element (REE) mining, the 2021 iGEM Calgary team has come together to develop Neocycle

Neocycle is a system developed to isolate REE from electronic waste materials. It aims to solve the rare earth scarcity problem, which exists partly due to the monopolistic nature of the rare earth market. Neocycle utilizes synthetic biology to innovate the technology that will empower a transition towards circular REE processing. The team is focused on ensuring this solution is both accessible and sustainable in meeting the growing global REE demands.

This initiative connects to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth), 12 (Responsible Consumption and Production), 13 (Climate Action) and 17 (Partnerships for the Goals).

Subasthika Thangadurai, Rigel Tormon, Arshia Mostoufi, Anika Zaman, Ramin Kahidi, Helen Zhang, Dewuni De Silva, Jonathan Chong, Allison Guthrie, Simran Sandhu, Cedric Acierto and Thuy-Ann Tran.

  • Ellisha Bourne for Gru Organics — a vertical farming company that uses waste heat from industrial operations.

  • Zero Food Waste Foundation Ltd. for redirecting excess food from restaurants and bakeries to those in need. 

Graduate Award

Pamela Farrell, doctoral candidate, at Werklund School of Education

Farrell focuses her research on the intersection of sociocultural factors and food literacy. Through her research in the Language and Literacy Program she has founded GROW Community Food Literacy Centre where she serves as the volunteer executive director. It is the first food literacy centre of its kind in Canada. It assists at-risk populations by providing access to affordable, healthy and culturally appropriate foods.

Farrell demonstrates excellence in leadership through her various academic roles as a guest lecturer, teaching assistant and research assistant. She continues to organize events and activities that are aimed at improving the graduate student experience as well as creating a more inclusive community.

This initiative connects to SDGs 1 (No Poverty), 2 (Zero Hunger), 3 (Good Health and Well-Being), 10 (Reduced Inequalities) and 11 (Sustainable Cities and Communities).

  • Kulsum Fatima for her research project exploring net-zero water management and how it can be applied at UCalgary.

  • Kabita Baral for her contributions to the STEM Foundation Nepal — an international venture that is striving to bring science, technology, engineering and mathematics education to girls in Nepal.

Individual Staff Award

Ana Pazmino, BA’11, MSc’13, Facilities Management 

As the manager for UCalgary's Caretaking programs, Pazmino is bringing a higher level of awareness about the environmental and human health problems associated with waste pollution, as well as the ramifications of wasteful practices. She educates and engages students through experiential learning opportunities to motivate them to become sustainable leaders in waste reduction. Through the Campus as a Learning Lab program, Pazmino has guided the mobilization of various waste-related projects on UCalgary’s campus.

Pazmino's work has opened up pathways for unique and innovative methods of teaching and learning in improving waste-diversion on campus.

This initiative connects to SDGs 4 (Quality Education), 11 (Sustainable Cities and Communities), 12 (Responsible Consumption and Production), 15 (Life on Land) and 17 (Partnerships for the Goals).

Teaching Award

Dr. Christine Walsh, PhD, Faculty of Social Work

Since 2018, Walsh has taught four undergraduate inquiry-based, experiential, interdisciplinary courses all centred around the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. Walsh actively engages students through videos, guest lectures and reading materials. She facilitates group discussions and collaborative research projects by utilizing knowledge and evidence from multiple different disciplines. Many lectures were in the Group Study Program format which were complemented by site visits both virtually and in-person.

Walsh makes a concerted effort to include guest speakers with expertise in various disciplines including: agriculture, botany, business, community health science, Indigenous studies, library sciences, political sciences, social work and urban planning, to engage with students.

This initiative connects to SDGs 4 (Quality Education), 10 (Reduced Inequalities), 16 (Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions) and 17 (Partnerships for the Goals).

  • Dr. Adela Kincaid for her courses that provide students hands-on experience working with Indigenous organizations and communities. 

Faculty Research Award

Dr. Aamir Jamal, PhD’13, Faculty of Social Work, University of Calgary

Jamal is a distinguished national and international leader, scholar, community-based researcher and social-change advocate/community leader whose transformative and impactful work interrogates deeply rooted socio-cultural and political issues that affect the marginalization of women, girls and other oppressed groups. His achievements and significant contributions to advancing gender justice and women’s rights align with multiple United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and UCalgary's Global Engagement Plan (2020) with a unique record of international collaborations and innovative leadership effecting progressive social change in the global south.

This initiative connects to SDGs 4 (Quality Education), 5 (Gender Equality), 10 (Reduced Inequalities), 11 (Sustainable Cities and Communities), 16 (Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions) and 17 (Partnerships for the Goals).

  • Lana Wells as the Brenda Strafford Chair in the Prevention of Domestic Violence and for leading a primary prevention research hub called Shift: The Project to End Domestic Violence.

  • Dr. Byron Miller whose research deals with urban sustainability governance that meaningfully integrates social, economic and environmental processes.  

  • Dr. Kerry Black for her research focusing on building community resilience through advancing sustainable infrastructure and encompassing Indigenous-centred methodologies. 

Group Staff Award

Wastewater-Based Epidemiology Team, University of Calgary

Comprised of members from a variety of disciplines and expertise, the Wastewaster-Based Epidemiology (WBE) team have come together as part of a stellar transdisciplinary effort in which their backgrounds in wastewater engineering, environmental virology and genomics, clinical molecular biology, and project management lead the way to innovation and advancement of wastewater testing.

The WBE team is leading a multi-million-dollar pandemic-monitoring effort that spans beyond Calgary to include most Alberta municipalities, neighbourhoods and high-risk facilities. Wastewater testing is being launched in Alberta First Nations.

This initiative connects to SDGs 3 (Good Health and Well-Being), 6 (Clean Water and Sanitation) and 11 (Sustainable Cities and Communities).

Michael Parkins, Casey Hubert, Kevin Frankowski, Cathy Ryan, Gopal Achari, Jon Meddings, John Conly, Rhonda Clark, Darina Kuzma, Nicole Acosta, Maria Bautista, Jianwei Chen, Carmen Li, Barbara Waddell, Kristine Du, Kashtin Low, Jangwoo Lee, Jordan Hollman, Srijak Bhatnagar, Janine McCalder, Alex Buchner Beaudet, Chloe Papparis, Navid Sedaghat, Puja Pradhan, Jennifer Van Doorn, Kevin Xiang, Leslie Chan and Laura Vivas.

Questions about the UCalgary Sustainability Awards? Contact us!