World Wildlife Fund Canada is the country’s largest international conservation organization with the active support of hundreds of thousands of Canadians. They connect the power of a strong global network to on-the-ground conservation efforts across the nation. Now they’re bringing conservation to campus – with your help!
WWF’s Living Planet @ Campus supports post-secondary students across Canada with ready-made activities, grant opportunities and tools to help build a more sustainable future where they live and learn. By reducing your environmental footprint and making choices that are better for the planet like switching to renewable energy and saying goodbye to single-use plastics, you can help fight climate change and protect wildlife habitat.
You’ll also get credit for it!
By getting involved in and leading activities on campus, you could be recognized by WWF as a Living Planet Leader. This certification can be included on your resume and LinkedIn profile, demonstrating to future employers that you have the knowledge, experience and passion to make a difference.
We had the chance to connect with the Sustainability Projects Coordinator at Fleming College as well as a student from Humber College about their experiences with Living Planet @ Campus, why they’re participating and how they’re encouraging others to get involved!
Finding Your Way With WWF
Like many high school grads, Brad Staite didn’t have a clear interest in any specific industry right after graduation. He decided to enroll in McMaster University’s Commerce Program to gain an overall knowledge of the business landscape but realized that his true passions were in industrial design and entrepreneurship. It was during this time that Brad also began learning about his own carbon footprint, which led him to WWF’s Annual General Meeting in 2016 and Living Planet @ Campus.
“I was eager to meet people taking action to reduce humans’ impact on the environment,” says Brad. “I had shared my interest in getting involved in any way I could, so I was quick to jump on board.”
Since joining Living Planet @ Campus, Brad worked with a team to ban plastic bottled water at Humber College’s campus. He created an art installation to kick off their “Take Back the Tap” campaign, which, Brad says, aims to “raise awareness of the impact single-use plastic water bottles have on our environment and to encourage students to reuse.”
“You don’t have to be an artist or designer to take action on campus though,” says Brad. “There are many activities you can do on campus that make small but significant impacts – from changing your daily habits to participating in campus-wide initiatives.” See the full list of Living Planet @ Campus actions here!
By taking action with Living Planet @ Campus, Brad says he has gained interpersonal skills, connected with like-minded peers and improved his resume. “[The Living Planet Leader] designation will differentiate you from your peers when the time comes to find a job. Graduating as a Living Planet Leader demonstrates your ability to take on responsibility outside of class, and employers value a diverse skill set when looking at resumes.”
The Living Planet Leader is a self-guided certification. You can make it your own by finding or creating opportunities in your community and on campus to make a difference. To become a Living Planet Leader, you must complete actions in:
- Campus, community or global volunteerism
- Personal application of sustainability
- Application of sustainability in academics
- Leadership and teamwork
See the full how-to guide on WWF’s website for more information.
For Your Entire Campus – Faculty Included!
Rob Monico, Sustainability Projects Coordinator at Fleming College, started his journey in environmental sustainability as a volunteer with a variety of environmental groups in his hometown of Guelph, Ontario. He decided to pursue this passion and completed a joint diploma-degree program in Ecological Restoration at Fleming College and Trent University. He then went on to complete a post-graduate certificate in Project Management before landing his current role within the Office of Sustainability department at Fleming College.
“As a Sustainability Projects Coordinator, I work with my colleagues to make the college more sustainable through the execution of a sustainability action plan. Primarily my role focuses on the coordinator of student and staff engagement activities like the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup and Smart Campus Challenge,” Rob comments.
The Living Planet @Campus initiative helps Rob and his team encourage more students to get involved on campus. “Sustainability itself is a broad term that can range from assisting wildlife, to being energy conscious, to carbon reduction strategies; which is why I thoroughly enjoy the Living Planet @ Campus program because it allows our students to engage in whatever aspect of sustainability they are most passionate about,” he says.
Rob and his team ensure that students are recognized for volunteering with Living Planet @ Campus. “We work with our Co-Curricular Record (CCR) team, within the Student Experience team at Fleming, to ensure that all students working towards the completion of the Living Planet Leader certification are also being recognized through their CCR,” he says.
Faculty and students are encouraged to submit success stories on the WWF-Canada website to share their efforts and inspire others to get involved! Check out a few of Rob’s success stories here!
We Can Make A Difference Together
Canadian wildlife and ecosystems are feeling the impact of Canadians’ unsustainable lifestyle. WWF’s Living Planet Report Canada found that half of the monitored vertebrate wildlife populations are in decline, and of those, the average rate of decline is a staggering 83 per cent. Human activities are the single greatest driver of wildlife loss.
As future leaders and decision makers, you have the power to reverse this trend and create a more sustainable future. Through Living Planet @ Campus – and with the help of student and faculty volunteers on campus – you can become the sustainability leader nature needs, and employers are looking for.
Rob offers some sound advice to students looking to get involved: “Do not be afraid of taking the steps to make a difference and remember: although your idea or activity may not change the world, it may change someone’s world.