Sustainability Education Summit

Thursday, October 27, 2022
by Bethany Helaine Poltl

Introduce yourselves, how your group formed and who is part of the core team? 

The Sustainability Literacy Initiative (SLI) team is composed of three core members, Emma Kirke, Ceileigh McAllister, and Grace

Sustainability Literacy Initative Team
Cullinane. The SLI acts as a network to represent various students, employees, faculty, and groups across the University who support the introduction of a sustainability literacy requirement at UW. We are supported by Climate Reality Project Canada through the Campus Corps program. 

Tell us about who was involved in the summit 

Representatives from all six facilities at the University of Waterloo were involved in the Sustainability Education Summit. In addition to UW students, faculty and staff, more than 10 institutions were represented across the Summit as attendees, panelists, and facilitators. The Summit was also supported by a team of volunteers. 

What inspired the summit? 
Sustainability Education Summit

The SLI believes that there is an urgent need to embed sustainability across the curriculum at the University of Waterloo. The Summit allowed voices from across the University to discuss benefits and barriers to a sustainability literacy requirement, as well as other mechanisms for embedding sustainability into the curriculum. The Summit also allowed us to hear from other post-secondary institutions doing similar work to understand common challenges and best practices. 

What was the focus of the summit? 

The focus of the Summit was amplifying diverse perspectives on embedding sustainability into the curriculum. Student government and faculty representatives were invited to share their voices, as well as experts and activists working in the field. 

What are the next steps and recommendations? 

Based on the conversations at the Summit and extensive research by members of the SLI team, we would recommend that the University of Waterloo explores methods of embedding sustainability into the curriculum for all undergraduate students. Our team would suggest the Sustainability Literacy Requirement structure outlined below as it offers the most flexibility to the student and aligns with the existing procedures at the University of Waterloo within the Faculty of Engineering. 

Are there any resources you would like to share for those interested in learning more? 

We would like to encourage you to review What We Heard: Report from the Sustainability Education Summit and our Instagram, @uwsustainabilityliteracy.