Winter Term at WSP: Introducing the Student Sustainability Committee

Published: Tuesday, January 18, 2022
Winter Term 22

Welcome back, Warriors! Your Sustainability Commissioner, Jenna, here. I hope you had a restful winter break and are ready for another great term ahead. I know that winter term may not be starting the way that we all hoped, but at the WUSA Sustainability Project, we are working hard to maximize the opportunities to promote sustainability at the University of Waterloo – whether you are living on campus or studying/working remotely.

The biggest, most exciting project I want to share with you is one that has been in the works since early on in the Fall term. This term, WUSA Sustainability Project is running a pilot in Winter 2022 for a new student group called the Student Sustainability Committee. Up until this point, there has not been a centralized group where students from across the University gather and discuss sustainability issues on campus, or advocate for sustainability at the institutional level. This has resulted in a compartmentalized approach to sustainability at the University of Waterloo, with the majority of the sustainability efforts taking place within the Faculty of Environment. However, sustainability is an issue that is relevant to all Faculties, as sustainability impacts the lives of everyone and will become a core consideration in every workplace in the face of climate change, inequities, and other issues that demand change. Establishing a Student Sustainability Committee will help centralize sustainability matters across Faculties at the University of Waterloo, and help integrate sustainability as a core value to undergraduate students.

The Committee Members will serve both as representatives of students in their Faculty, and consultants for students in their Faculty. The purpose of this Committee is two-fold. First, the Committee will share information, including resources for sustainable actions and services, with their respective Faculty, satellite campus, or University College. Committee Members will serve as consultants for individual students, student groups, staff members looking to collaborate with students, or other consultation-based activities that the Sustainability Commissioner has typically taken on alone up until this point. By involving the Committee Members, their specialized knowledge and experience with their own Faculties can enhance sustainability efforts in personalized ways.

The second purpose of the Committee is to serve as a “working” group, whereby Committee Members collaborate to produce deliverables. These deliverables will range depending on the particular topic or issue that arises. A few examples could include a resource for sustainable procurement, a statement on a climate-related issue that arises in the future, or a policy recommendation.

Without further ado, here is the University of Waterloo’s first-ever Student Sustainability Committee!

Arts – Parul Tambe (she/her), 3rd year Economics and Business

Parul is a third-year Economics and Business student with a finance specialization. In her free time, Parul loves baking, reading books, or binge-watching her favourite TV-Shows. Her goal on the Committee is to be able to work with other members and come up with more sustainable operations for WUSA and the campus. Her favourite sustainability hack is using one smart reusable notebook for all her courses and going as digital as possible!

Engineering – Maria Fraser Semenoff (she/her), 3B Environmental Engineering

Maria Fraser Semenoff (she/her) is a 3B Environmental Engineering student. In addition to completing a work term with the Sustainability Office, she has been involved with various student-led sustainability groups on campus including Impact Alliance, Engineers Without Borders, and Global Spark. As a member of the Student Sustainability Committee, Maria aims to inspire other engineering students to adopt more sustainable lifestyles, encourage profs to incorporate sustainability into more courses, and support campus-wide climate action initiatives. Her favourite sustainability tip is to get a cookbook and experiment with preparing a variety of plant-based meals from scratch

Environment – Eurus Pan (she/her), 4A Planning

Eurus is in her 4A term of Planning. Her goal on the Committee is to create an integrative system for sustainability practices throughout the University of Waterloo campus. Her favourite sustainability hack is to reuse rice water for houseplants. This helps save on your water bills and adds some nutrients for the plants!

Health – Ainsley Durnin (she/her), 2B Kinesiology

Ainsley (she/her) is a 2B Kinesiology student currently on Co-op at a lab on campus. Her favourite sustainability hack is recycling her Nespresso pods through their free recycling program.

Math – Kunwar Mehar Singh Narula (he/him), 2A Computer Science

Kunwar’s ultimate goal in this Committee is to represent the voice of the students in the Faculty of Mathematics, taking into account their ideas regarding practices to promote sustainability. Kunwar’s favourite sustainability tip is to take the plugs out of electric sockets when not in use to reduce energy use.

Science, Ariana Lim (she/her), 3A Science and Business

Ariana (she/her) is in her 3A term of Science and Business. Her goal on the Committee is to find more ways to engage science undergrad students in a sustainable lifestyle. Her favourite sustainability tip is that almost everything can be purchased second-hand!

What’s next at WSP?

Stay tuned for exciting projects and activities that the Committee will soon start working on. These include projects with your individual Faculties, and widespread ones that will impact the University. We hope to offer plenty of opportunities for you to connect with the Committee about sustainability issues that matter to you.

If you have any questions about the Committee, or ideas for future projects and activities that the Committee or WSP can get involved in, please feel free to email me at

Stay safe, Warriors, and stay sustainable!

Your Sustainability Commissioner,

Jenna Phillips (she/her)


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