Minor in Sustainability

  • Environmental Sustainability Spring and Summer Courses Available in 2021

    As the weather here in St. Catharines continues to get nicer, we can’t help but think about the Spring and Summer 2021 terms – registration opened earlier this month! If you’re interested in taking a Spring or Summer course this year, but you’re not sure where to start, read on to learn more about ENSU 2P01 and ENSU 2P02 and how to use these courses to declare a Minor in Environmental Sustainability!

    ENSU 2P01: Introduction to Environmental Sustainability is being offered in the Spring 2021 term and is taught by Christine Janzen. In this course, students will get an overview of the concepts and importance of environmental sustainability. You’ll explore the impact of various factors on the state of the environment, including human interaction, biodiversity, climate change, and you’ll learn about the implications of the current state of our environment.

    ENSU 2P02: Environmental Sustainability in Practice, also taught by Christine Janzen is being offered in the Summer 2021 term. This course examines applications of environmental sustainability, including education, communication, nature-based solutions, and more! You’ll explore how principles and concepts of environmental sustainability are applied in a variety of fields and appreciate environmental sustainability as a transdisciplinary subject of study.

    These courses are both offered entirely online and can be counted towards the Minor in Environmental Sustainability. With a Minor in Environmental Sustainability, you will gain core skills necessary for problem-solving in the modern world as businesses and governments adhere to new environmental legislation, and society adapts to a changing world. By taking the courses mentioned above, as well as a variety of credits from other disciplines, you will have the opportunity to study sustainability issues from a transdisciplinary perspective, thinking outside the traditional boundaries of your discipline, and gain practical insight into how Canada and the world is moving forward to address these issues. Past students who have taken the minor appreciate the transdisciplinary perspective, including Mikellena Nettos, who is currently pursuing her Masters in Sustainability Science. Mikellena said of the program, “Taking the Minor of Sustainability at Brock taught me the importance of caring for our planet as well as our people! I loved the program so much it changed my life path and led me to the Master of Sustainability where I am now conducting research to influence real change towards a more sustainable future”

    If you have questions about these courses, or are interested in declaring a Minor, please reach out to ensu@brocku.ca, or come visit us at the Brock Spring Open House on March 31st, 2021 from 5:00 – 6:00pm EST.

    Categories: Blog, Minor in Sustainability

  • Implementing Experiential Education in a Virtual World

    Blog Contributor:  Erica Harper  

    Jess tweet

    Dr. Jessica Blythe is an assistant professor in the Environmental Sustainability Research Centre who teaches courses to Minor in Environmental Sustainability (undergraduate) and Master of Sustainability (graduate) students who are keen to learn more about climate change, environmental policy, and how to achieve transformational change within our societies’ systems. To take on the challenge of engaging her students in a virtual world, Dr. Blythe has continued to implement experiential education into course work through the Fall 2020 semester.

    Dr. Blythe has used social media to get ideas for assignments before, but this time she inspired others on Twitter with her creativity to further her students’ understanding of climate change adaptation. Dr. Blythe posted about an assignment related to climate change adaptation that she gave her students enrolled in the capstone course of the Minor of Sustainability program, Contemporary Environmental Issues (ENSU3P90). Her Twitter post explains that she asked her students to generate tools to create workshops that would help people find solutions for climate change adaptation and transformation using Rob Hopkins and Rob Shorter’s Imagination Sundial. Dr. Blythe’s Twitter post received attention online and even managed to reach both the creators of the Imagination Sundial who were impressed by her creativity and ability to implement their Imagination Sundial into her course work.

    The Imagination Sundial acts as a design tool for rebuilding the imaginative capacity of people, organizations, or countries to help generate solutions for adapting to climate change. This tool resonated with Dr. Blythe because her research investigates how we can achieve transformational change in society and the Sundial is a great tool to help catalyze this type of change. Dr. Blythe approaches the ENSU390 course with the expectation that many of her students are finishing their degrees at Brock, and the course is therefore designed to help them become sustainability professionals or implement sustainability into their careers after graduation. Although her experiential assignments usually consist of working with real partners within the university, Dr. Blythe still wanted to provide her students with experiential learning opportunities in a virtual world. Using the Sundial, students had to explain who they would target for their climate adaptation workshop (e.g., farmers, residents, organizations, etc.), the purpose of their workshop such as what transformation they would like to walk participants through, and finally, students had to map out the logistics of their workshop.

    Dr. Blythe emailed both Rob Hopkins and Rob Shorter to explain the assignment in more depth and provide some examples from the students in her class. They were inspired that she had been using their Imagination Sundial for experiential education during this challenging time and they thought it was novel to be using their tool at the undergraduate level. All in all, Dr. Blythe has demonstrated a great example of how to implement experiential education in a virtual world and has surely inspired many of her colleagues online to do the same.

    To learn more about the Minor in Environmental Sustainability at Brock, please visit: https://brocku.ca/esrc/minor-in-sustainability/

    Categories: Blog, Experiential Education, Minor in Sustainability

  • Congratulations to our Spring 2020 Graduates!

    The ESRC is very proud to announce that three students have officially completed the SSAS program and are graduating on June 19th, 2020. Jocelyn Baker, Qurat Shahzad, and Connor Thompson have all worked exceedingly hard throughout their time in the program, and we are so proud to have been a part of each of their academic journeys.

    Jocelyn Baker joined the SSAS program in 2018 and brought with her a number of previous degrees and certifications, including a BA in Geography and Fine Art (Guelph University), a certificate in Terrain and Water Resources (Sir Sanford Fleming College), and a certified Project Management Professional. Jocelyn’s research was supervised by Dr. Liette Vasseur and investigated Management in Canadian Ramsar sites and sustainability through adaptive governance. Jocelyn’s interest in Canadian Ramsar sites was also reflected in her co-op placement, where she worked as a Project Manager, Niagara River Ramsar Designation for the Niagara Restoration Council.

    Qurat Shahzad travelled to St. Catharines all the way from Dubai, UAE to join the SSAS program in 2017. Her research was supervised by Dr. Marcel Oestreich and built on the knowledge she had through her Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Science from the American University of Sharjah, UAE. Qurat’s final research investigated the dynamics between the current economic system and sustainability goals.

    Connor Thompson joined the SSAS program in 2018 with an Honours Bachelor of Arts in Political Science (Western University). His research interests aligned with those of Dr. Todd Green, who supervised Connor’s MRP research about the attitude/behaviour gap in low-impact housing development. In addition to his work on his MRP research project and as a research assistant on the ESRC’s Charter with Facilities Management partnership, Connor spent his co-op placement working as an Educator with the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup.

    In addition to these three SSAS graduates, we would also like to congratulate our 10 undergraduate students who have completed the Minor in Sustainability. All 13 of our graduates have worked extremely hard to reach this important academic milestone, and we hope you’ll join us in expressing our heartfelt congratulations!

    Categories: Blog, Minor in Sustainability, SSAS Program

  • Master of Sustainability Reflection

    Nolan Kelly

    Blog Contributor: Nolan Kelly

    Background

    It is very hard to believe that it has been 8 months since I started my journey as a Master of Sustainability student at Brock. Although I am all done my in-class portion of the program, I still have the Major Research Paper and co-op placement to look forward to. While this is exciting, it also marks the end of my time attending classes at Brock University after 5 years here. As a result, I have decided to reflect on this time by looking back at how I got to where I am, and the influence that the program has had on me. The route I decided to take in my undergrad and masters was a little bit different, and I think that by highlighting my experience and the pathway I took, I can help other students who don’t know what to do next or need a little guidance. Hopefully this can also give students some perspective on the Master of Sustainability program itself to see if it is the right fit for them. This blog will reflect on my background, how I became interested in sustainability and some of the main takeaways that I have learned.

    Minor in Environmental Sustainability

    One of the most difficult and important decisions a person has to make is deciding what educational path they want to take. I was heavily torn between choosing the Sport Management program at Brock or choosing an environmentally based program elsewhere. I ended up choosing the Sport Management program and although I was happy with my decision, I was unsure of how I was going to have any environmental component to my education. During my first year I was thrilled to find out there was an environmental sustainability minor being introduced. I jumped on the opportunity and was really pleased with the amount of choice and diversity there was amongst these minor credits. The two introductory environmental courses were online and did a great job at building up my base of knowledge and first showed me the transdisciplinary aspect of sustainability. In researching this minor, I discovered that there were aspects of science, history, geography, sociology and political science that all came together to give me a better understanding of sustainability science. In fourth year, the contemporary environmental issues course that was the last mandatory credit needed for the environmental sustainability minor, really drew me in. The course was extremely engaging, informative, and left me feeling inspired every time I left. The combination of all the minor courses and especially this last course paved the way for me committing to the Master of Sustainability program.

    Sport Management

    As mentioned above, I came to Brock for their Sport Management program and I really enjoyed it. As I progressed with each year, I found myself drawing upon the knowledge I learned in my environmental sustainability minor and applying it to sport. By third and fourth year I really became interested in the intersection between sport and the environment and took sport management classes that would let me further explore this topic. There were also professors along the way that highlighted the importance of sustainability and the environment which furthered my interest in the topic. When I told people what I was minoring in most would have the same reaction of thinking it was an interesting topic but very different than my major. While I could see how many would think this, I saw the correlation between the two and wanted to explore the ways in which this gap between sport and the environment could be bridged. As a result, I researched the impact and reliance that sport has on the environment and the opportunities that exist within sustainability in sport. I took this interest into my master of sustainability program and decided to make it the central focus of the major research paper that I am writing this summer. While sport management is just one example, it highlights that sustainability has a place in everything.

    Takeaways

    My experience in the master of sustainability program has only solidified this as the transdisciplinary nature of the program was very evident. This allowed me to develop new perspectives in many different areas and further expand my knowledge in sustainability. At the start of the year I was a little reserved and felt like because my background was not more closely related with sustainability science, that it would be an area of weakness for me. However, this was not the case as I learned that my different background added to the conversation and offered a different perspective. While the imposter syndrome many students feel can be difficult to overcome, the professors did a great job at encouraging our ideas and reinforcing the transdisciplinary nature of sustainability. Collaborating with my cohort on projects and assignments was definitely one of the most enjoyable aspects of the program. Not only were we able to play to our strengths and be creative but it was a great example of how sustainability works in the real world. We were able to further see this firsthand in our transdisciplinary seminars with professionals in the field. Without collaboration and different perspectives, sustainability could not be successful.

    Categories: Blog, Minor in Sustainability, Program Reflections, SSAS Program, SSAS Student Contributor

  • Sustainability scholarship recipients meet with community donors to share impact of their support

    Through a combination of community backing and word spreading across campus, wind is picking up in the sails of Brock’s sustainability programming.

    The University’s minor in sustainability, launched in fall 2017 and offered through Brock’s Environmental Research Centre (ESRC), will see its first cohort of students graduate in June.

    Two of the soon-to-be grads, as well as three graduate students in the Sustainability Science and Society program introduced by the ESRC in 2014, received scholarships for their studies through a $5,000 donation from Toromont Cat

    .

    Photo: Brock students who will soon graduate with a minor in sustainability were celebrated recently by the Environmental Sustainability Research Centre. Pictured is student Nolan Kelly, Faculty of Social Sciences Dean Ingrid Makus, ESRC Director Ryan Plummer, and students Mikayla Richards and Abbey Faris.

    Officials from the construction company were on campus last week to meet with students whose lives were impacted by their support.

    Providing funds for sustainability scholarships was a natural progression from the long-standing partnership Toromont has had with the University and its co-generation facility, said Lou Colangelo, the company’s General Manager.

    “We’ve been working with Brock for many years through its power plant and supporting students by giving them exposure to the industry,” he said.

    The company, he added, is pleased to provide financial support as well as mentorship opportunities that connect students with professionals who have decades of experience in the energy and sustainability field.

    “The industry is constantly evolving, so getting exposure to fresh thinking and to young minds that have not been focused on the path we’ve been looking at is also a huge benefit.”

    The financial boost allowed graduate student Meredith DeCock to begin pursing her sustainability studies at Brock last fall.

    “The scholarship enabled me to take on projects and an extra course in addition to focusing on my program requirements,” she said. “Providing me with the ability to focus on my full-time studies, the Toromont scholarship enriched my learning and research experience over the past year.”

    Other scholarship recipients included graduate students Brooke Kapeller and Leaya Amey, and undergraduate students Nolan Kelly and Kaitlyn James.

    ESRC Director Ryan Plummer said the partnership with Toromont “serves as a powerful illustration to students, faculty and staff of the innovation that can be achieved through meaningful collaboration.”

    The minor in environmental sustainability was created “to respond to pressing social and ecological challenges and opportunities in Niagara, nationally and globally,” he said. “Units across the University worked collaboratively with the ESRC to make this important program part of Brock’s curriculum. The enthusiastic response by students far exceeds our initial expectations. It is very rewarding to see our first cohort of students graduating with the minor and I am incredibly proud of them.”

    Brock has been collaborating with Toromont for more than 25 years to “provide reliable, cost-effective energy to our campus community,” said Scott Johnstone, Associate Vice-President, Facilities Management. “We’re now advancing this partnership with a new generation of high efficiency equipment. In addition, we are conducting research together to test new engine oils and additives to extend equipment life, all while making our plant more sustainable.”

    Story from The Brock News

    Categories: Event, Innovative Partnership, Minor in Sustainability

  • Exciting Scholarship Opportunity for Brock’s Environmental Sustainability students!

    By: Shanen D’Souza

    Toromont CAT Scholarship Presentation

    Photo: Cheque presentation by ToromontCAT representatives to Scott Johnstone, AVP Facilities Management and Dr.Ingrid Makus, Dean of FOSS at the reopening of Theal House in February 2018.

    The Environmental Sustainability Research Centre (ESRC) along with Brock Facilities Management is offering $5,000 in scholarships for the upcoming year! ToromontCAT Construction donated these funds to the University to encourage and foster sustainability education and research at Brock.

    For students enrolled in the Master of Sustainability program, three scholarships of $1,000 each will be awarded to students in good academic standing. The three designations are as follows: one current student in Scheme A, one current student in Scheme B and one incoming student who will begin studies in the Fall of 2018. For students who have declared a Minor in Environmental Sustainability, two scholarships of $1,000 each will be awarded to students in good academic standing.

    For more information on the scholarships and applications please visit our website.

    This scholarship is another indicator of the quality research and education that is carried out through these Environmental Sustainability courses. It also displays Brock’s commitment to becoming a national leader in sustainability, while striving to create beneficial educational opportunities for its students. According to Ryan Plummer, Professor and Director of the ESRC, these scholarships recognize as well as support excellence in Environmental Sustainability.

    Applications include an essay question to be answered in 1500 words or less and the applicant’s unofficial transcripts. All completed applications must be submitted via email by August 22, 2018 by 11:59pm to sustainability@brocku.ca. Successful recipients will be notified via email by September 7, 2018.

    Categories: Awards, Innovative Partnership, Minor in Sustainability, SSAS Program, Sustainability at Brock