Sessions

2022 Adams Sustainability Celebration Virtual Panel Sessions

The 2022 Adams Sustainability Celebration featured seven live virtual panel sessions from February 23 to April 9, 2022. They are listed below – click on the links to view the videos on our YouTube Channel.

2020-2021 Adams Sustainability Celebration Virtual Panel Sessions

The 2020-2021 Adams Sustainability Celebration featured six virtual panel sessions between September 2020 and January 2021. We welcomed panelists from across all three campuses, representing various departments and offices at U of T, and all of whom are working towards greater sustainability within the University, and through the broader community.

Take a look at our previous panel sessions:
The SDGs Paradigm at U of T: An Exploration of SDGs Embedding in Courses and Activities
Getting to Carbon Neutrality at St. George Campus
Post-COVID Travel and CECCS’ Business Air Travel Report
UTM’s Sustainability Strategic Plan: Fostering a Culture of Sustainability
Investing to Address Climate Change: In Conversation with President Gertler
UTSC’s Sustainability Initiatives: 2020 and Beyond

The SDGs Paradigm at U of T: An Exploration of SDGs Embedding in Courses and Activities

October 6, 2020

The United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were adopted in 2015 as a global framework to achieve prosperity for people and the planet by 2030. The SDGs reflect sustainability in a holistic manner, calling for action on abolishing poverty, achieving gender equality, and combating the climate crisis. This new decade rings in a sense of urgency for the SDGs as their progress is currently not in line with 2030.

At U of T, actors and organizations from both academic and operational sides have adopted the SDGs to pursue important sustainability work in the social, humanitarian, environmental, and economic realms. This panel, which featured champions of SDGs embedding on campus, provided an insightful and in-depth exploration of how various initiatives have advanced U of T’s commitment to the world’s arguably most ambitious set of goals. Pertinent topics included past and current work, such as the creation of an SDG-based course inventory, a new university ranking system according to SDGs, and the advancement of SDG design-thinking through community engagement work. The panel also delved into new initiatives, such as the ambitious “17 Tables” events that featured 17 round tables of U of T researchers according to their SDG of focus, and OISE’s Climate Action Plan to reduce its carbon footprint and work towards a sustainability mindset.

Panelists:

Kimberley Slater – PhD Candidate in the Department of Geography, Moderator

Hilary Inwood –  Lecturer and Lead, Environmental & Sustainability Education Dept. of Curriculum, Teaching and Learning, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE), UTSG

John Robinson – Professor, Munk School of Global Affairs

Joseph Wong – Interim Vice-President, International, Ralph and Roz Halbert Professor of Innovation at the Munk School of Global Affairs, and Professor, Department of Political Science, UTSG

Paolo Granata – Assistant Professor, Book and Media Studies, St. Michael’s College, UTSG

Simon Pratt – Director, Policy & Analysis, Planning & Budget Office, UTSG

Getting to Carbon Neutrality at St. George Campus

October 27, 2020

Sustainability and environmental stewardship are embedded in the fabric of our operations at U of T as we take action to meet the challenges of climate change. U of T has been working towards aggressively reducing its greenhouse gas emissions. In this session, Ron Saporta, Chief Operating Officer at U of T, and Marc Couture, Director of Energy & Sustainability go through U of T’s sustainability goals, the Low Carbon Action Plan, and the proposed Utilities Master Plan to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.

Panelists:

Adriana Dossena – Project Coordinator, Sustainability Office, UTSG

Jennifer Puskar – Project Coordinator, Sustainability Office, UTSG

Marc Couture – Director, Sustainability Operations and Services, UTSG

Ron Saporta – Chief Operating Officer, Property Services & Sustainability, UTSG

Post-COVID Travel and CECCS’ Business Air Travel Report

November 3, 2020

The Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in a surge of online activity and reduction, and in most cases, elimination, of air travel for business. CECCS created a three part Air Travel Report in early 2020 as the beginning of a discussion around business air travel at U of T. The three areas of focus were: quantifying business air travel, reducing air travel through virtual conferences and other means, and mitigating air travel emissions through a bespoke initiative. This session goes through the Air Travel Report that was submitted to President Gertler in Spring 2020, and speaks broadly about the changing landscape of travel in a post-COVID landscape, including resources and supports for delivering engaging virtual events.

Panelists:

Garrett Morgan – Doctoral student, Department of Geography and Planning, Moderator

Andrea Muehlebach – Associate Professor, Anthropology, UTM

Eric Miller – Professor, Department of Civil and Mineral Engineering, FASE, UTSG

Vinita Haroun – Director for the Centre for Research & Innovation Support, UTSG

Ron Saporta – Chief Operating Officer, Property Services & Sustainability, UTSG

John Robinson – Professor, Munk School of Global Affairs

UTM’s Sustainability Strategic Plan: Fostering a Culture of Sustainability

November 27, 2020

Sustainability is one of the five priorities of UTM’s current academic plan. The Sustainability Pathways Working Group (SPWG) appointed by the Dean recommended, in September 2018, UTM should strive to become a global leader in sustainability by fostering a culture of sustainability. In Fall 2019, the Principal, UTM, constituted the Principal’s Sustainability Advisory Committee (PSAC) to develop the Sustainability Strategic Plan, as recommended by the SPWG, to achieve its vision to become a global leader in sustainability.

The PSAC has passionate members of faculty, students, staff and community, and organized many focus groups, townhalls, and visioning sessions with members of the UTM to identify its ambitions, goals and targets for each of the five pillars of the plan – academic programs and curriculum, research, campus engagement, civic engagement, and human resource and infrastructure. The plan is organized around 26 goals which are aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) and the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS 2.2) of the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE).

This panel discusses sustainability being one of the priorities of UTM’s academic plan, its vision of fostering a culture of sustainability, the process of developing the strategic plan, key features of the strategic plan, and steps for successful implementation.

Panelists:

Dr. Shashi Kant – Professor, Institute for Management & Innovation, UTM, Moderator

Amrita Danière – Professor, University of Toronto, Mississauga

Beverley Ayeni – Sustainability Manager, Strategic Initiatives, UTM

Saher Fazilat – Chief Administrative Officer, UTM

Investing to Address Climate Change: In Conversation with President Gertler

December 1, 2020

Earlier this year, the University of Toronto and more than a dozen Canadian universities signed a landmark charter that aims to tackle climate change through a commitment to responsible investing practices. U of T and McGill University initiated the charter, and more than a dozen other universities have joined the effort. It calls on universities to, among other things: incorporate environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors into investment practices; regularly measure the carbon footprints of investment portfolios and set meaningful targets to reduce them over time; and engage with companies to encourage them to reduce emissions.

Joining forces with other universities to address climate change through the charter is just the latest in a series of steps taken by U of T since the release of President Gertler’s 14-point plan to take action on climate change in 2016.

This session will feature a discussion with President Gertler on the newly created “Investing to Address Climate Change” charter.

Panelists:

Dr. Meric Gertler, President, U of T

(Interviewer) Lisa DeMarco, Senior Partner, DeMarco Allen LLP

UTSC’s Sustainability Initiatives: 2020 and Beyond

January 12, 2021

The University of Toronto’s Scarborough (UTSC) campus has a long history and commitment to issues related to the environment, as well as social equity and inclusion, and this is now at the forefront of our priorities as a campus as part of our recently released Strategic Plan.

In the spring of 2019, eight working groups of students, staff, and faculty consulted with more than 1,100 people from inside and outside our campus, reviewed extensive data and other documents, discussed and debated ideas and ultimately, presented their findings.  Through this inclusive process, we made a commitment to champion sustainable livelihoods, cultures, and ecosystems of local and global relevance and resonance in a manner that gives pride of place to Indigenous initiatives and expresses our collective values of equity, diversity, inclusion and accountable stewardship.

In developing our Strategic Plan, it became evident that ‘sustainability’ was the focus of numerous and diverse individuals and groups across the campus. To capture this diversity, we are currently creating an inventory and map of activities, programs, research, and academic networks as a basis for all future initiatives and programs at the campus. We are building on our legacy, while looking to the future.

During this session, our panelists will connect-the-dots between what is envisioned for the campus in our Strategic Plan, and what our mapping exercise has revealed, including any feedback we may receive from our community.

Panelists:

James MacLellan – Environmental Studies Program Director, UTSC

Jeffrey Miller – Manager, Sustainability Office, UTSC