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Sustainability leaders making their mark

2024 UM Sustainability Award winners announced

May 17, 2024 — 

Each year, the University of Manitoba Sustainability Awards recognize and celebrates the collaborative efforts of students, staff and faculty to advance UM’s commitment to excellence and leadership in sustainability.  

The following winners of the 2024 Sustainability Awards were selected by a committee and received their personalized awards in early May. The Office of Sustainability would like to congratulate this year’s recipients and thank all the nominees for their contributions to sustainability at UM. 


2024 Undergraduate Sustainability Award Winner

Joyce Ji – 2024 Undergraduate Sustainability Award Winner

Undergraduate Sustainability Award 

The Undergraduate Sustainability Award recognizes an undergraduate student who has led an initiative or project to advance sustainability at UM. This initiative or project can be a part of coursework or take place outside of the learning environment. 

Award Recipient: Joyce Ji, Clayton H. Riddell Faculty of Environment, Earth, and Resources, Environmental Science 

Joyce Ji has been advancing sustainability through both her work and volunteering. She is a member of the UM Wetlanders and a volunteer at the Wetland Discovery Centre, both of which are supported by Ducks Unlimited Canada.  

Joyce is also a Youth Advisory Council member with Ducks Unlimited Canada, where she engages with youth to represent their voice around conservation and sustainability within the province.  

Joyce works with the Canada Water Agency and Narratives Inc. to incorporate Indigenous Knowledge Systems into policy and decision making around climate change and areas of environmental concern. 


Graduate Student Sustainability Award Winner

Nazanin Khaksari – 2024 Graduate Student Sustainability Award Winner

Graduate Sustainability Award 

The Graduate Sustainability Award recognizes a graduate student who has led an initiative or project to advance sustainability at UM. This initiative or project can be a part of coursework or take place outside of the learning environment. 

Award Recipient: Nazanin Khaksari, Asper School of Business, Marketing 

Nazanin Khaksari’s research involves examining the psychological barriers to purchasing vegan food, particularly the stereotypes of femininity around veganism, including how marketing activities can mitigate this identity threat and encourage adoption of a vegan-based diet.  

In addition, Nazanin has integrated sustainability concepts into teaching about marketing sustainable practices in the industry and practical applications of sustainability concepts in innovative business ideas. 


Student Group Sustainability Award

Student Group Sustainability Award Winners

UMEARTH – 2024 Student Group Sustainability Award Winner

The Student Group Sustainability Award recognizes a group of students who have led an initiative or project to advance sustainability at UM. This group has also made and will continue making a lasting positive impact on the environmental, economic and social well-being of students at UM. 

Award Recipient: UMEARTH 

UMEARTH has made significant strides in advancing sustainability through two projects. This group of student leaders engineered and implemented clean drinking water systems in the under-resourced communities of El Bailadero and Montana Verde, Honduras.  

In addition, the group is constructing an all-season greenhouse to support local agriculture and serve as an educational hub for sustainable practices. UMEARTH combines practical solutions with educational initiatives to foster a culture of sustainability that extends beyond their immediate projects, leaving a lasting impact on the UM community and beyond. 


Jenny Trenchard - 2024 Staff Sustainability Award Winner

Jenny Trenchard – 2024 Staff Sustainability Award Winner

Staff Sustainability Awards

The Staff Sustainability Award recognizes an individual staff member’s effort to educate, advocate and advance sustainability within their department and/or unit. This person shows a keen interest in campus-related activities and sustainability as a whole. Sustainability may or may not be defined in this person’s job responsibilities. 

Award Recipients: Jenny Trenchard, Office of Vice-President (Indigenous) and Claire Venevongsa, Asper School of Business  

Jenny Trenchard has been a constant champion of sustainability as the Green Office Representative for the Office of Vice-President (Indigenous). She has methodically reduced waste at events, implemented departmental changes to further reduce waste through sustainable eating utensil “feast kits” as giveaways to reduce single use plastic waste.  

Staff Sustainability Award Winner

Claire Venevongsa – 2024 Staff Sustainability Award Winner

Jenny is an advocate for the Green Events Certification program, achieving a gold rating for hosted events in her department. She is passionate about sustainability, which is evident in how it is embedded in her day-to-day work and her efforts to communicate and influence her colleagues around her. 

Claire Venevongsa is a Green Office Representative for the Asper School of Business, where she has organized green events, film screenings, giveaway recycling parties, and Earth Day lunches. 

She supports and engages with faculty, staff and graduate students by providing resources and knowledge related to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). She is a continual advocate for sustainability, focusing her efforts on helping to promote the integration of the SDGs into event planning, research and other facets within the faculty. 


Faculty Sustainability Award

Faculty Sustainability Award Winner

Dawn Sutherland – 2024 Faculty Sustainability Award Winner

The Faculty Sustainability Award recognizes an individual who has demonstrated exceptional and continuous integration of sustainability into their teaching, research and engagement activities.  

This individual creates engaging opportunities for students through experiential learning, course design, innovative research and assignment creation. This person also shows a keen interest in campus-related activities and sustainability. 

Award Recipient: Dawn Sutherland, associate dean, Social Sciences and Humanities, Faculty of Graduate Studies and professor, Faculty of Education  

Dawn Sutherland has a deep respect for being sustainable in the natural environment. She has embedded

sustainability frameworks into her Curriculum and Instruction courses (well before she knew it!) and embodies a lifetime commitment to working and writing tirelessly for equity in education for children and youth in care.  

Recently, she helped create video recordings capturing field-tested teaching strategies, assignments, activities, stories and sustainability-based framing devices for sustainability in higher education courses.  

In addition, Dawn has been involved in the training and support of instructors in the CSI and Power Up program at the Boys and Girls Club of Winnipeg, as well as the Destination Imagination project, where she is currently working with CanU to train facilitators in the program. 


Lifetime Sustainability Award  

Award Recipient: John Sinclair, professor and Director of the Natural Resource Institute, Clayton H. Riddell Faculty of Environment, Earth, and Resources 

John Sinclair has been with the Natural Resources Institute since 1991, after completing his PhD in the Faculty of Environmental Studies at the University of Waterloo. Alongside his long-standing involvement in community sustainability initiatives, his research and teaching centres civic engagement is a critical component of resource and environmental governance. 

John teaches courses in environmental assessment, environmental governance, individual and social learning in resource and environmental management, and thesis research methods. In addition to his teaching and research, John was instrumental in drafting UM’s first Sustainability Policy, expressing the university’s commitment to sustainability and leading to the creation of the Office of Sustainability in 2013.  

He is a fierce advocate for sustainable campus operations and decision making, which aided his role as a founding member and longtime chair of the UM Sustainability Committee. Dr. Sinclair has shown outstanding leadership, passion, and dedication to sustainability over the years and has helped lay the foundation for UM’s current success in sustainability. 



Interested in nominating an individual or group for the Sustainability Awards? Keep an eye out for next year’s call for nominations at Sustainability Night 2025! 

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