Footprints: Stepping into a sustainable future is a student-run event for students from all different disciplines to come together with professionals to generate powerful ideas and conversations around sustainability. Previous years have brought topics such as political change, local food production, sustainable community planning, and carbon offsetting to the forefront
of discussions. This year, the conversation focused on sustainable initiatives in Vancouver with guest speakers John Tylee (Director, Policy and Communications, Vancouver Economic Development Commission), Moura Quayle (Professor, Thinking Strategies, Sauder School of Business) and Orion Henderson (Director, Operational Sustainability at UBC). The dialogue was focused around three key topics: 1) Vancouver’s Greenest City Action Plan, 2) Vancouver’s ‘green’ economy, and 3) sustainability initiatives on the UBC campus. Through brainstorming and group work, presentations, and Q&A periods, both students and speakers were able to share their views and gain some insight into the direction of sustainability in our community.
Lead first by Moura Quayle, students were asked to critically examine the ten broad goals of the Greenest City Action Plan using the ‘six thinking hats’ strategy as a tool for discussion. Students were able to identify opportunities, set-backs, logistical details, and emotional responses to the various goals Vancouver has for creating the greenest city by 2020. Following was John Tylee discussing the current trends of the city’s greening economy as well as the difficulties faced by businesses of ‘going green’. Finally, Orion Henderson introduced students to the history of sustainability on campus and discussed some of the university’s current and planned initiatives to promote efficiency and sustainability at UBC.
As part of the event, all food provided was locally sourced, including baked goods from the Agora Café, beets from the UBC Farm, chesses from the Okanagan and Saltspring Island, and fresh fruits and vegetables from Vancouver’s Winter Farmer’s Market.
With the support of AMS Sustainability, we were able to make this year’s event a great success! This year was our third consecutive year of creating dialogue and we hope it will continue to bring inspiration to students and professionals in the future. If you are interested in the organization of next year’s event, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
“A great opportunity for students from different faculties to get together and discuss issues that we all care about.”
– Student participant from Footprints, 2012