In July of 1969, the “Division of Environmental Studies” was created at the University of Waterloo, and over the past five decades, the Division has transformed from its humble but aspirational origins to become Canada’s largest Faculty of Environment. It has been home to more than 16,000 alumni who now live in 89 countries around the globe, including ecologists, geographers, knowledge integrators, pilots, planners and scientists, as well as experts in corporate sustainability, economic development, environmental governance, geomatics, green business, policy analysis, and tourism.
In 50 years, the Faculty of Environment has transformed itself from being the problem framers to becoming the problem solvers.
Throughout its history, the Faculty of Environment has been dedicated to creating a positive impact locally and globally by focusing on human-
environment interactions. Our community of students, faculty, alumni, donors and staff make meaningful change happen in the classroom, the workplace, and in communities across Canada and around the world.
The Faculty of Environment has focused on interdisciplinary research and applied, experiential learning since its inception. In the words of Feridun Hamdullahpur, President of the University of Waterloo, “the Faculty’s addition to our institution is a prime example of collaborative research andteaching across disciplines that has produced innovation and shifted public policy to build a strong environment.”
The world needs our expertise more than ever. Climate change, and the need to find environmental and sustainable solutions, impel society to fundamentally transform our economy and how we live. We need interdisciplinary approaches, new technologies, social innovation, better information, and deeper understandings of natural and societal processes to address the complex environmental and social challenges of our century.
The Faculty’s Strategic Plan 2020-2025, Together for a sustainable future, sets our course and provides a framework for working toward achievement of the United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals by partnering with others in educational programs and research activities, and through external engagements. Our focus on sustainability signals our attention to the needs of both current and future generations, to the criticality of healthy ecosystems, and to the importance of universal access to the essentials of life for all humans.
Built on the perspectives, insights, and advice of engaged stakeholders and alumni, as well as trusted advisors, the plan identifies priorities that support our vision to be a leading teaching and research institute for the environment and sustainability; a place where people come together to advance understanding of and to mobilize solutions for sustainability