Young Alumni Achievement Award nominee:
Tania Cheng (BES ’10), has channeled her passion for making the world a better place into a list of achievements that would be exceptional for someone twice her age. Having crafted a career in the non-profit world, this recent grad has changed lives for the better across the country and around the world.
Having worked her way up from program coordinator, Tania is currently the associate director of Ontario EcoSchools, an organization working with the public school system to foster environmental awareness in the classroom and engage the next generation of sustainability leaders. In her role, Tania is spearheading the incorporation and building of a new nonprofit called EcoSchools Canada. Thanks to her, the organization’s mission is being brought to a national platform. Her strategic vision, along with juggling day to day duties like IT, HR and million dollar budgets is making the project a massive success.
But her journey to sustainability superstardom started much earlier. Nearly a decade ago, while she was still in high school, Tania became involved with The Otesha Project, a national youth-led charitable organization that used experiential learning, theatre and bicycle tours to encourage community members to take action for a more sustainable world. She continued her work with the organization while doing her undergrad and directing the University of Waterloo Sustainability Project. Then, after completing her degree, she spent two months cycling across the Maritimes with the Otesha Project, and also served on the board of directors.
From there, Tania joined the organization Me to We, first as a leadership speaker and facilitator and later as research and development coordinator. In these roles, she travelled the world to deliver more than 140 keynote speeches to 40,000 youth across Canada and the U.S., Tania also led full-day leadership workshops to diverse communities, including indigenous, rural, at-risk, and persons with disabilities and emotional/behavioural disorders.
Today, Tania can found working with the LGBTQ+ film community as a member of the board of directors of the Inside Out film festival in Toronto.
The bedrock for all of this exceptional work was Tania’s sterling academic achievements. Her thesis, The Use of Message Framing in the Promotion of Environmentally Sustainable Behaviors was supervised by Jennifer Lynes and published in Social Marketing Quarterly, a peer-reviewed journal. She later presented the thesis as a poster presentation at the Behavior, Energy, & Climate Change Conference in Sacramento and at the World Social Marketing Conference in Toronto in 2013. Then, while working full time, Tania also completed a Master in Philanthropy and Nonprofit Leadership from Carleton University and a 12-month fellowship through the Association of Fundraising Professionals’ Inclusive Giving program.