President's Advisory Committee on Environmental Sustainability

Wide shot view of DP and trees in winter at sunset


As the University of Waterloo continues to advance campus sustainability, the President’s Advisory Committee on Environmental Sustainability (PACES) will represent a cross-section of Waterloo stakeholders, including students, faculty, staff, and administration, to provide advice to the president on campus sustainability programs and policies.


We are not currently recruiting for committee members at this time. There will be an undergraduate-student-at-large position opening in early 2025. Please check back at that time for more detail.


Name Title/Role Term
Vivek Goel President, University of Waterloo - Chair ex-officio
Jacinda Reitsma VP, Administration and Finance ex-officio
Stepanka Elias Executive Director, Sustainability ex-officio
Mat Thijssen Director of Sustainability ex-officio
Christine McWebb Associate Vice-President, Faculty, Planning, and Policy ex-officio
Vacant CTE Representative ex-officio
John Lewis Director, Indigenous Faculty Relations, Office of Indigenous Relations ex-officio
Sean Sprayson Project Manager, Strategic Initiatives & Continuous Improvement, Campus Housing ex-officio
Javier Alarco Executive Chef, Food Services ex-officio
Simon Glauser Managing Director, Waterloo Climate Institute May '24 - Apr '26
Vacant Staff at large representative May '24 - Apr '26
Vacant Staff at large representative May '24 - Apr '27
Paul Cegys Lecturer, Communication Arts Sep '23 - Aug '25
Amr ElAlfy Assistant Professor, School of Environment, Enterprise, and Development May '24 - Apr '26
Nicholas Pfeifle WUSA President May '24 - Apr '25
Tyler Hull Grad Student, Engineering May '23 - Apr '25
Vacant Undergrad Student Representative May '24 - Apr '26
Madison Monaghan Undergrad Student, Arts/Environment Jan '23 - Dec '24
Karen Radcliffe Director, Finance and Accounting, SJU Sep '23 - Aug '25

Terms of reference

1. Purpose

The President’s Advisory Committee on Environmental Sustainability (the “Committee”) is established to provide advice to the President (and to others on the direction of the President) on campus sustainability programs and policies, and to coordinate implementation of the commitments outlined in relevant University plans and documents.

2. Objectives

The core objectives of the Committee are:

  1. Maintain and monitor compliance of Policy 53: Environmental Sustainability
  2. Coordinate development and renewal of core institutional sustainability planning, including the University’s Environmental Sustainability Strategy and climate action plan
  3. Coordinate the preparation and distribution of the University’s annual sustainability report to monitor implementation of sustainability goals and commitments.
  4. Form working groups to develop, exchange information on, and coordinate implementation of specific plans.
  5. Provide advice to the President, or to such other persons or bodies as the President may direct, related to sustainability opportunities and initiatives at the University.
  6. Provide feedback and input on significant policies, guidelines, and projects/initiatives that advance various institutional sustainability directions
  7. Select projects to be funded through the Sustainability Action Fund and review completion of selected projects.

3. Membership

Membership in the Committee shall be comprised of:

  1. The President, who shall act as chair
  2. The Vice-President, Administration & Finance
  3. The Executive Director, Facilities
  4. The Director of Sustainability
  5. The Associate Vice-President, Faculty, Planning, and Policy
  6. One representative from the Centre for Teaching Excellence, recommended by the Director of the Centre for Teaching Excellence
  7. One representative from the Sustainable Futures research cluster, to be recommended collaboratively through the cluster
  8. One representative from the Office of Indigenous Relations, recommended by the AVP Indigenous Relations
  9. One representative from Campus Housing, recommended by the Director of Campus Housing
  10. One representative from Food Services, recommended by the Director of Food Services
  11. One undergraduate student representative selected by the Waterloo Undergraduate Student Association.
  12. Two additional undergraduate students from alternating cooperative education streams, to be chosen by the chair
  13. One graduate student, selected by the Graduate Student Association.
  14. Two faculty members from varying faculties or disciplines, one of whom is to be recommended by the Dean of Environment and another recommended by Dean’s Council.
  15. Two staff members from varying academic support units (with a preference from units not already represented), to be chosen by the chair
  16. One non-voting member from the Federated University and Affiliated Colleges, to be chosen by the chair

The individuals to be chosen by the chair shall be identified based on an open call for expressions of interest.  Committee members will generally serve a term of two years. To ensure succession on the Committee, half of non-ex-officio member appointments will be renewed each year. There can be a one-year extension of terms if needed. Student representatives will serve for a term of one year to accommodate academic commitments, but may choose to continue for a second year if their schedule permits. The representative from the Sustainable Futures research cluster should also serve for a two-year term and rotate between various institutes that are part of the cluster.

It is expected that additional stakeholders with relevant expertise and/or accountabilities will work closely with the Committee, and may join occasional meetings to provide input or present information, and may serve on working groups.

4. Roles of the Chair

The chair shall preside over Committee meetings, and have the authority to:

  1. Appoint members to the Committee where relevant
  2. Call additional meetings as necessary.
  3. Strike working groups as necessary, as recommended by the Committee.

5. Committee Member Roles

Committee members are expected to:

  • Attend regular meetings and participate in the fulfilment of Committee mandate;
  • Join working groups of the Committee as appropriate to support specific objectives;
  • Liaise with other stakeholder groups on campus to advance implementation of sustainability objectives;
  • Review and provide comment on draft documents in person and over email;
  • Serve on working groups of the committee where appropriate;
  • Vote on decisions which fulfil the Committee’s mandate, including recommendations, reports, and proposed plans;

In addition to the above, the Sustainability Director will participate in Committee meetings and facilitate the collection and analysis of information regarding sustainability practices and curriculum, as well as developing many inputs for Committee deliberation. The Director will provide administrative support through the Sustainability Office for Committee activity.

6. Decision-Making

From time to time, it is expected that the committee will make recommendations to bring forward to the President.  When forming these recommendations:

  1. The committee will make every effort to operate on a consensus model.
  2. When consensus is not attainable, the committee will follow a democratic process.
  3. It is understood that recommendations of the committee remain subject to normal University of Waterloo policies and approvals processes.

7. Meetings

The Committee shall normally meet once per term, but may meet more often at the call of the chair. 

Committee quorum shall be determined as fifty percent of voting Committee membership, plus one. Ex-officio members on the committee may appoint a designate if they are unable to attend a meeting, provided they give notice to the chair or the Director of Sustainability.

Meeting agendas and any associated information for review will be circulated by the Sustainability Director, after review from the chair, five business days in advance of scheduled meeting times. The Sustainability Office will record minutes and circulate to the Committee within ten business days of the meeting, for approval at subsequent meetings.

8. Working Groups

The Committee may form working groups to provide focused support for development or implementation of specific projects and actively engage stakeholders beyond the Committee members. Working groups shall each develop a terms of reference, and report back to the Committee at least once per year. All working groups shall have at least one member of the Committee.

To recognize the intersectional nature of many sustainability initiatives and to avoid duplication of effort, certain working groups may jointly report to other University advisory committees and bodies. This collaborative approach should be articulated in each working group’s terms of reference as appropriate.

Working groups shall meet as often as required to meet their mandates as set by the Committee.

9. Confidentiality

The Committee’s proceedings are generally to be considered open and transparent. However, members may state that certain information or opinion should be kept confidential to the Committee in the interest of ensuring the free flow of ideas and depth of discussion.

Working groups

Working Groups are diving into detailed action on specific objectives or areas of focus. They report back to the committee on projects and progress. Currently active Working Groups include: 

Fairtrade Working Group

The Fair Trade Working Group is in place to support Waterloo's progress to receive and maintain the Fair Trade Campus designation. Presence of a steering committee on fair trade is one of the designation requirements. Current members of the Working Group include:

Role Name Title
Sustainability Office Represenative (Chair) Mat Thijssen Sustainability Manager
Administration Representative Chris Read Associate Provost, Students
Food Services Representative Lee Elkas Director, Food Services
Retail Services Representative Jaime Philip Manager, Business Development and Marketing, Retail Services
Retail Services Representative Emilia Zakarian Manager, Purchasing and Merchandizing Strategy, Retail Services
WUSA Representative Brian Schwan Manager, Commercial Operations
GSA Representative Kevin McKay GSA General Manager
Faculty Representative Karla Boluk Assistant Professor, Recreation and Leisure Studies
Student Representative Vacant  

Climate and Energy Working Group

The Climate and Energy Working Group was originally formed to develop Waterloo's Shift:Neutral climate action plan. The Working Group was reconstituted in fall 2020 to focus on implementation and build continuing collaboration between units.

Position Name Title
Manager, Mechanical Engineering Chris Ford (Chair) Ex-Officio
Executive Director, Facilities Stepanka Elias Ex-Officio
Director, Design and Construction Rob Hunsperger Ex-Officio
Director of Sustainability Mat Thijssen Ex-Officio
Assistant Director, Residence Facilities Mike Iley Ex-Officio
Director, Procurement and Contract Services Stephen Cook Ex-Officio
Manager, Space Planning Scott Nicoll Ex-Officio
Undergraduate Student Representative Guy Brodsky Undergrad Student (Appointed by WUSA)
Graduate Student Representative Saveena Patara Graduate Student (Appointed by GSA)
Faculty of Arts Representative Angela Carter Associate Professor, Political Science
Faculty of Engineering Representative Karen Dubois Manager, Facilities and Space
Faculty of Environment Representative James McCarthy Geospatial Applications Specialist
Faculty of Health Representative Kirstie Slaney Financial Officer
Faculty of Math Representative Marek Stastna Professor, Applied Math
Faculty of Science Representative Mike Ditty Manager, Science Infrastructure, Special Projects and Facilities
Waterloo Institute for Sustainable Energy Representative Ambika Opal Program Manager, Global Programs and Initiatives
Waterloo Climate Institute Simon Glauser Managing Director