Sustainability Night 2023

Join us March 8, 2023 for an evening of innovative thinkers in the realm of sustainability.

Enjoy an evening of sharing sustainability ideas, learning about ways to get involved, and taking part in a panel discussion on gender equality and sustainability. Cap off the night by meeting and sharing ideas with other sustainability-conscious community members during the networking wine-and-cheese.

The evening includes a ‘speed networking' event where participants will jump from one station to the next to learn about local organizations who are making an impact in our community. These groups will highlight what you can do to take action. After the presentations are complete, there will be a panel discussion to complement International Women's Day (March 8) linking the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, specifically SDG #5, gender equality and empowering all women and girls, to sustainability.

Thank you for a great 2023 event! 

Moderator: Adele Perry, Director, UM Centre for Human Rights Research


Adele Perry is a settler historian who grew up in British Columbia and has worked at the University of Manitoba since 2000. She works on histories of colonialism in northwestern North America in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and is committed to the transformative work of feminist and decolonizing scholarship.   She is currently distinguished professor of History and Women’s and Gender Studies, and the Director of the Centre for Human Rights Research.

Makenna Coldwell, Undergraduate Student (4th year - Engineering)

Makenna is part of the UM Engineering Society Sustainability group and the Communications Executive for the Women of Manitoba Engineering Network (WOMEN). She is a fourth year biosystems engineering student, with a biomedical specialization. She is passionate about sharing information on sustainability in engineering to future engineers while promoting diversity and the support of gender minorities in the industry. 

Larissa Kanhai, Research Lead, Bridging the Gender Gap

Larissa is a Research Lead with the University Manitoba for a national study entitled, “Bridging the Gender Gap”.  She holds an MBA in Sustainability and Public Administration, a B.A. Hons in International Development, a B.Sc. in Biology, and has a non-profit background in social justice.  

With passions for environmental justice, anti-racism, and women’s empowerment, Larissa has most recently worked as a Diversity and Inclusion Coordinator with Manitoba Government, Fairtrade Outreach Coordinator with the Manitoba Council for International Cooperation and volunteered overseas with her children in the Ecuadorian Amazon.  She currently sits on the Board of Directors for Athena Leadership, the Advisory Committee for Indigenous Parents Community, and the Steering Committee for Fair Trade Winnipeg. Larissa has embraced intersectional feminism in how she raises her children, participates in community, and as a lens in her professional endeavours. 

Larissa identifies as a cis-gender female, first-generation Canadian, and person of colour (pronouns: she/her/elle). 

Vanessa Lillie, Director, Cultural Integration (Indigenous)

Vanessa Lillie is Cree and Métis. Her family is from St. Peter’s/Peguis Reserve along the banks of the Red River. Vanessa has roots in Peguis First Nation, a community in Manitoba’s Interlake. She earned a Bachelor of Arts Honours degree in Psychology from the University of Manitoba and has worked at the University of Manitoba as the first Academic Advisor for Indigenous Students in the Faculty of Arts and a Student Advisor in the Indigenous Student Centre overseeing the cultural portfolio. Currently, Vanessa is the Director of Cultural Integration (Indigenous). Vanessa works to walk in the footsteps of those who came before her seeking possibilities to make our collective space more accessible, inclusive, and healing. Relationships, listening, and learning are integral to Vanessa as she strives to co-create respectful, community-informed restorative practices. Inclusion and integration of Indigenous ways of knowing, being, and doing widen the path for generations to come reclaiming spaces within all aspects of education. She is a strong advocate and an active grass-roots community member who balances her time so she can learn from Elders, Traditional Knowledge Keepers and spend time on the land. She is honoured to be a daughter, mother, sister and auntie.

Tracey Peter, Vice-Provost (Academic Affairs)

Dr. Tracey Peter is a Professor of Sociology and Criminology and the Vice-Provost (Academic Affairs) at the University of Manitoba. She is currently the principal investigator on a SSHRC Insight grant based a cross-sector and cross-national analysis of women in engineering and computer science occupations in Canada, Germany, and Sweden. Tracey has also been involved in numerous large-scale national and international studies involving youth and other marginalized populations. Her general research and publication interests include: research methods/applied social statistics, mental health and well-being, equity and anti-oppression in education and work, and equity among 2SLGBTQIA+ populations.

Sustainability Awards

The UM Sustainability Awards recognize and celebrate the collaborative efforts of students, staff and faculty to advance our campus commitment to excellence and leadership in sustainability.

Undergraduate Sustainability Award

The Undergraduate Sustainability Award recognizes an undergraduate student who has led an initiative or project to advance one or more of the Sustainable Development Goals. This initiative or project can be a part of coursework or take place outside of the learning environment. 


Nominees must be full‐ or part‐time undergraduate students in good standing currently enrolled at the University of Manitoba.


Graduate Sustainability Award

The Graduate Sustainability Award recognizes a graduate student who has led an initiative or project to advance one or more of the Sustainable Development Goals. This initiative or project can be a part of coursework or take place outside of the learning environment. 


Nominees must be full‐ or part‐time graduate students in good standing currently enrolled at the University of Manitoba.

Student Group Sustainability Award

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


  • Must be a current UMSU student organization, association or club, student or graduate student association or group in good standing.
  • Individuals are not eligible to receive this award.
  • Sustainability does not have to be in the mandate or mission statement of the student group.

Staff Sustainability Award

The Staff Sustainability Award recognizes an individual staff member's efforts to educate, advocate and advance one or more Sustainable Development Goals 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. 


Must be an employee of the University of Manitoba.

Faculty Sustainability Award

The Faculty Sustainability Award recognizes an individual who has demonstrated exceptional and continuous integration of one or more Sustainable Development Goals 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 as a whole.


Must be an active University of Manitoba faculty member, instructor or postdoctoral fellow.

Collaborative Sustainability Award

The Collaborative Sustainability Award recognizes a unique collaborative effort between students, faculty, staff and community members to integrate one or more SDGs in a project or initiative. This unique category puts emphasis on interdepartmental interactions at UM in efforts to find solutions to sustainability-related issues to further advance to the SDGs.


Must be a collaborative project representing at least two of the following: staff, students, faculty and/or community members

Send us your nominations

Nominations for the 2023 UM Sustainability Awards are now closed. Stay tuned for a list of award winners.