On November 17, UTM Professor Shashi Kant hosted a live panel discussion focused on the new campus Sustainability Strategic Plan. This panel was a part of the six live panel discussions organized by the University of Toronto’s sustainability office for its ongoing sustainability celebration.

The Tri-Campus Adams Sustainability Celebration is a four-month-long occasion made up of a variety of events and panels centered around environmental activism and awareness. The celebration began on September 22 and is scheduled to continue until January 21, 2021.

Professor Kant, program director for the master’s of science in sustainability management (MScSM), is a leading figure in the UTM community and has received international acclaim for his sustainability advancements. In 2018, Kant was awarded the highest honour in the province, the Order of Ontario, which was given to him by Elizabeth Dowdeswell, the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario.

“You can make your plans, but nobody ever reads them,” stated Kant in an interview with UTM News. “But this is a high priority for us, and it is a unique plan for U of T, to foster a culture of sustainability at UTM.”

The panel discussion featured three other notable UTM community figures. Amrita Daniere, vice-principal, academic and dean; Saher Fazilat, chief administrative officer; and Beverly Ayeni, sustainability manager for the campus utilities infrastructure division’s strategic initiatives.

In his video announcement regarding the sustainability celebration, U of T President Meric Gertler emphasized the significance of environmental awareness and its impacts on the university.

“This virtual series is a wonderful opportunity to recognize and mobilize our growing community of sustainability-minded students, staff, and faculty members at U of T,” stated Gertler. “It is also a wonderful opportunity for us to celebrate our successes to date and inspire new activities, to build networks across our three campuses, and to work together to increase engagement around sustainability.”

Gertler also went on to discuss U of T’s role in large-scale international initiatives surrounding climate action and how the administration has been working toward advancing its already established position as a sustainable and climate-conscious institution.

“U of T has taken a leadership role in our involvement with UC3 and the U7+ Alliance, among other international initiatives,” continued Gertler. “In keeping with the [United Nations’] Sustainable Development Goals, our approach addresses both environmental and human well-being, and is realized through research and innovation, academic programs, community engagement and initiatives related to our own operations.”

President Gertler pointed out university administrations’ responsibilities across the nation regarding sustainability and ensuring a healthy world for future generations.

“Universities in Canada have a crucial role to play in helping to meet the very pressing global challenge of climate change and to work toward a sustainable, healthy, and more prosperous future.”

The Adams Sustainability Celebration will continue until the award ceremony on January 21, 2021. The next live panel discussions are scheduled for December 1 and January 12. In addition to the panel sessions, students are encouraged to participate in the virtual showcases and the student group exhibits. For more information on the events, visit the Committee on the Environment, Climate Change, and Sustainability (CECCS) website.

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