Caribbean roots and global pursuits: My path to sustainable education

Friday, May 10, 2024
by Cayla, Student Relations Associate
Coop student Cayla

Hi, I’m Cayla and I’m from the twin island nation of Trinidad and Tobago. Growing up in the Caribbean, I was at the forefront of the effects of climate change, which ignited a passion within me to help create a sustainable future. I spent countless hours in high school researching and learning what I could do to play my part in living an eco-friendly lifestyle — a journey that led me to the University of Waterloo.

 Leaving behind the warmth of my island home, I embarked on a quest for knowledge and growth, fuelled by my belief in balancing economic prosperity with environmental stewardship. That’s why I chose to pursue an Honours Bachelor’s degree in Environment and Business.

At Waterloo, I found myself immersed in a community of like-minded individuals which expanded during my first co-op work term. I had the privilege to work at the dynamic School of Accounting and Finance as the Student Relations Associate. I got to dive headfirst into the Sustainability and Financial Management Program (SFM), which is the first program of its kind in all of Canada — pretty groundbreaking stuff! Now here’s the cool part, this program not only offers a direct route to becoming a CPA or CFA professional in as little as five years but also equips students with the tools and knowledge to drive sustainable change in the corporate world. It’s like hitting two birds with one stone, but in a good way!

While I’m not a student in this program I’ve had the opportunity to engage in shared courses, collaborative projects and some seriously engaging discussions. The insights I gained into the intersection of finance and sustainability have been priceless. It’s a whole new world — one where numbers and sustainability go hand-in-hand and it’s pretty exciting!

In an ever-evolving world threatened by the consequences of the climate crisis it has been truly enlightening to witness the passion and dedication of my peers in the School of Accounting and Finance towards integrating sustainability principles into financial practices. As I reflect on my journey thus far, I am grateful for the opportunity to embrace interdisciplinary learning, as there is immense value in exploring intersections and forging connections that blur boundaries, bridge gaps and chart a more sustainable future.