Leadership in environmental sustainability certificate available to students

Courtney Dickson, Roving Editor Ω

Ryan Turcot tries out a bicycle that also makes smoothies at the Upcycle That! event in March. - PHOTO BY BRENDAN KERGIN

Ryan Turcot tries out a bicycle that also makes smoothies at the Upcycle That! event in March. – PHOTO BY BRENDAN KERGIN

TRU is now officially offering a certificate in leadership in environmental sustainability. Students looking to expand their resumes and receive recognition for their work in the community will finally have something to show for it, as it was introduced with the March 27 Upcycle That! event.

Peter Tsigaris, chair of the economics department, helped develop the certificate to help students gain experience with environmental issues so they can make a difference in the future.

“We want to be the university of choice for environmental sustainability,” he said. “In the future we will have to be dealing with our environment and climate change issues. Not enough resources have been allocated to environmental issues. There will be lots of jobs there for students. We are providing something that is good for the world.”

“TRU does try to position itself as being aware of sustainability issues and this helps to confirm that,” said Ryan Turcot, second-year communications student, who is working on completing the certificate. “I think it’s a solid initiative.

“It’s quite unique actually in the world.”

Only five out of the 12 points required can be from coursework, the rest has to come from extra-curricular activities. However, students don’t have to use any coursework towards their certificate.

Larissa Pepper, a third-year human resources student is already only two points away form earning the certificate.

“As soon as it came out I started thinking about what I had already done,” she said. Pepper has used coursework and extra-curricular activities to collect points towards the program.

Pepper is very involved with sustainability issues. She has acted as the director of two environmental programs and was the program manager for one of those, contributing to the development of said program.

Pepper is excited about the certificate and the fact that it is going to help boost her resume.

“Most employers are looking for extra-curricular activities in general,” she said. “It really sets you above and beyond. Students who are specialized will stand out.”

Turcot became interested in the certificate because it will help to improve his resume.

“I’m a very career-oriented student,” he said.

Though Turcot admits there is always a chance he could end up working for a company that is not environmentally-friendly, he said most companies are “considering the trend of environmental sustainability as something they’re interested in pursuing.”

Due to the nature of his program, Turcot will earn points from extra-curricular activities only and no coursework.

“It recognizes students’ extra-curricular activity and therefore they’re engaged and involved in environmental problems and issues. They are pro-active; they went beyond their coursework. Employers look not only at what you did in school but the extra curricular activity that you have done,” Tsigaris said.

However, Tsigaris is disappointed that this certificate is only available to students registered at TRU and hopes to see that change.

“In the future, I don’t see why we cannot go into the community and reward people in the community that have environmental leadership traits.”

Tsigaris estimates between 65 and 70 students have registered to obtain the certificate. Students interested in starting the process of obtaining the certificate are advised to visit the centre for student engagement.

“The young generation is really concerned about these things. It’s good that they are concerned. I give them a thumbs up,” Tsigaris said.

“If we don’t make a change, we aren’t going to have anything left to use,” Pepper said.