The SEEDS Sustainability Program creates applied student-led research and interdisciplinary partnerships between students, faculty, staff and community. An internationally recognized Campus as Living Laboratory initiative, SEEDS advances UBC’s sustainability and wellbeing commitments, supports the integration of academic and operational sustainability efforts, and contributes to enriched student research and professional experiences.
UBC SUSTAINABILITY PLANS AND POLICIES ADVANCED
STUDENTS, FACULTY, STAFF AND COMMUNITY PARTNERS ENGAGED
APPLIED RESEARCH PROJECTS
FOOD SYSTEM ACTION TEAMS LAUNCHED
SEEDS launches ‘Big 5’ research priority areas
This year SEEDS launched five research priority areas to focus on some of our most pressing social and environmental issues.
1. Accelerate Climate Action
Over 150 students engaged in 23 applied research projects related to addressing the climate crisis. For example, investigating the cultural and gender barriers to active transportation, and electric bicycle subsidies.
2. Enable the Great Food Transformation
Five interdisciplinary teams involving staff, faculty, and 100 students engaged in 18 applied research projects. For example, climate friendly-food systems, urban food production for community resilience, biodiverse food systems, zero-waste and circular economy, food justice and sovereignty.
3. Maintain and Enhance Urban Biodiversity
Over 280 students engaged in 18 applied research projects that informed policies, plans and practices to enhance campus urban biodiversity. For example, using GIS and remote sensing to assess campus grey & green infrastructure, tree species composition & diversity, solar radiation and canopy coverage.
4. Create Circular & Regenerative Economies
Innovative pilot projects to demonstrate the potential savings of adopting new tools and practices. For example, a new recycling program to repurpose used gloves into outdoor furniture demonstrating the potential to divert seven million gloves from landfill each year.
5. Foster Wellbeing & Inclusive, Place-Based and Resilient Communities
Over 180 students engaged in 23 demonstrative research projects that addressed multiple dimensions of human and ecological wellbeing. For example, students and faculty from a School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture course designed and built a large innovative open-air pavilion that connects community with place, and contribute to eco-human health and wellbeing.
Food Security Initiative
The Food Security Initiative launched in February 2020 as a cross-disciplinary partnership between UBC Wellbeing and the SEEDS Sustainability Program, operating in both Vancouver and Okanagan campuses.
The initiative is the first aimed at alleviating household food insecurity and promoting community food security. Key insights from recent student-led research shed light into lived experiences on food insecurity and affordability issues – highlighting the daily financial, health, and social sacrifices students must make while being food insecure.
Ongoing work at grassroots level on campus continues to support immediate relief, capacity building efforts, and broadening partnerships, while a series of applied research projects is being integrated into campus courses in partnership with UBC Food Services, AMS Food Bank, AMS Conference & Catering to UBC Wellbeing.
In partnership with student leaders, operational staff, and other stakeholders, the initiative is developing dignified and sustainable solutions for a food secure campus that meets the diverse needs of various UBC communities.