The Faculty of Environment at the University of Waterloo has received a $1 million donation to launch the Δ Program (Delta Program) and provide pivotal funding for the Future Cities Initiative, a multidisciplinary endeavor focused on grooming the future leaders of city building and harnessing research, knowledge and innovation to create just, healthy and sustainable communities.

Frank Cairo

> Frank Cairo (BES ’05)

The landmark gift comes from fellow co-founders and Waterloo alumni Frank Cairo and Troy van Haastrecht of Caivan Communities, the centerpiece of Environment’s new Future Cities Initiative.

“This extraordinary gift from Caivan Communities is a catalyst to realize our goal of preparing talented, highly skilled and innovative future leaders with the tools and systems-focused knowledge needed to transform cities,” said Jean Andrey, dean of the Faculty of Environment. “The University of Waterloo and Caivan Communities have a shared vision for this seed investment to blossom into a trailblazing program that empowers students, researchers and experts from business, the private and public sector and society, to ask questions, challenge assumptions and imagine futures that shape sustainable, just and modern communities in Canada and across the globe.”

Troy van Haastrecht

> Troy van Haastrecht (BASc ’93)

Deeply passionate about the challenges of sustainable development, real estate developer Cairo notes this donation has a professional and philosophical purpose for him.

“Establishing this partnership with Jean Andrey and the University of Waterloo is an opportunity to make a positive impact on future generations,” said Cairo. “It is our hope that Waterloo students, motivated by the threats and opportunities that come with future cities, work together to discover solutions that are economical, scalable and improve the lives of people. After all, where we live directly affects who we are and how we live our lives.”

Caivan’s funding of the program is, “a catalyst that we hope will precipitate a framework for identifying the tools and techniques required to positively shape future cities,” said Cairo.

Linked directly to the Environment’s priority to develop tomorrow’s leaders, Cairo added that, “recipients will need to be prepared to address the threats and opportunities associated with big data, advanced synthetic intelligence and the proliferation of automation across all sectors.  These, along with a changing climate, are truly some of the tough nuts to crack with respect to the shape of future cities. Qualitative and quantitative tools will be required for future leaders to build or, at minimum, facilitate cities that are resilient, adaptive and inclusive.”

The donation will be directed to the following initiatives within the Δ Program (Delta Program):

  • The Caivan Communities Professor who will lead the program, including program design, industry partnerships and teaching, over the next three years.
  • Caivan Communities Student Support will fund 40 undergraduate and graduate scholarships over four years, rewarding those who achieve academic excellence, leadership and perseverance.
  • Caivan Communities Global Citizenship Internship will support one student annually over the next five years to work in collaboration with an Ottawa-based, non-profit organization, applying their knowledge in real-world settings, while developing critical leadership skills.
  • Caivan Communities International Postdoctoral Fellowships will attract top-tier postdoctoral talent who will contribute to the Δ Program (Delta Program) through a combination of teaching and applied research.                                                                                                                                                                                  
  • Δ Program (Delta Program) Enrichment funds will fund guest lectures and professional training for students, while also expanding cross-sector partnerships through public engagement opportunities, such as events and webinars.

“Troy and I value Caivan’s partnership with the University of Waterloo,” said Cairo. “We believe strongly that resilient cities of the future will require thoughtful and informed leadership in social, economic and environmental realms, as the pace of unparalleled change remains exponential.”

Caivan Communities is an integrated land development and home building company with communities based in Ottawa and the Greater Toronto Area. Caivan is challenging industrial paradigms, building neighborhoods that have the capacity to improve life for the residents that call them home. Caivan is a leader in the integration of data, automation and software development in its processes and decision making. Caivan has harnessed automated manufacturing systems and technology in reforming its production pipeline to reduce its environmental footprint while improving product quality and energy efficiency for its consumers.

For over 50 years, the Faculty of Environment has been dedicated to having a positive impact locally and globally. With interdisciplinary programs and research, our community of students, faculty, staff, alumni, donors and industry partners make meaningful change happen in the classroom, the office and in communities around the world, together. Our vision is to use our unique position as a leading teaching and research institute for the environment to create sustainable solutions needed to address the complex challenges facing our world.