Dr. MacLatchy gave the closing remarks at the 2021 Design for Change Awards, hosted by Wilfrid Laurier University and sponsored by Scotiabank.
Good evening everyone and thank you for attending the Design for Change awards ceremony tonight.
I first want to congratulate all the students from across Canada who, over the last four weeks, have been engaging in design activities to shift people toward greener behaviours and sustainable practices. In total, 150 students on 52 teams submitted final projects! That’s just amazing!
You have taken the knowledge and skills you have gained in classes and coursework and research, and your own life experiences, and have applied them to finding solutions to climate change and environmental degradation – two of the most pressing challenges of our time.
I am extremely impressed by the creativity and quality of the submissions. You should all be so proud of your efforts.
To our winners: Congratulations on this significant recognition in a national competition. To stand out in such a remarkable group is truly an accomplishment.
It is my hope that you now move forward with implementing your ideas to make our world a better place.
I also would like to thank all of the people and organizations that brought this competition to life.
Design for Change would not have been possible without the generosity of Scotiabank. Thank you so much Pamela Hilborn and all the great folks at Scotiabank for all that you have done to support this endeavor.
We at Laurier are incredibly grateful for your sponsorship and support, which provides our students – and students across Canada – the opportunity to engage in innovative events such as this, and to sharpen their skills for future design challenges.
There are also a number of people, including Laurier faculty, who have shared generously of their time and expertise to organize this event, mentor students, and act as judges. Over 50 volunteers in total have made this event possible. Thank you.
And I would like to personally thank Dr. Abby Goodrum for having the original vision of what a UX program and national competition could mean for our students and for our university.
Thank you all for making this such a meaningful learning opportunity for the students.
As a biologist, I am deeply proud of Laurier’s longstanding commitment to sustainability.
Enhancing sustainability at our university is one of Laurier’s strategic priorities. We know that sustainable practices and proper stewardship of resources strengthen our communities, society and economy.
For more than a decade, our Sustainability Office has been supporting green efforts across our campuses and we have received provincial, national, and international recognition for environmental leadership and sustainability efforts. Created by students and for students, the Sustainability Office officially opened in 2010. We recognize that more sustainable university campuses and communities support personal health and well-being as well as helping the future of the planet.
Our faculty have prioritized imbedding sustainability content into courses, across the curriculum, from the Humanities and Social Sciences to Business to the Sciences. And many of our faculty focus on environmental and sustainability research, in Ontario and as far away as Canada’s north.
From zero waste bins in our dining areas, to the creation of a Freestore for students to donate their old household items to other students, many of these efforts have focused on simple ways of changing how users experience our campuses to shift them to greener behaviours. And so many of our ideas have originated with students—students who have led us to do better, not just institutionally, but as a community leader.
We have also taken an intentional approach to building facilities that incorporate sustainable design, such as including rooftop solar panels, green roofs, grey water recirculation, and e-charging vehicle stations. When renovating facilities, we prioritize the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and water use and have specifically resourced these initiatives.
Fighting climate change and environmental degradation requires us to take a critical look at how we go about our day-to-day lives and incorporate new practices and designs to minimize waste.
For the last month, all of you as participants in the Design for Change contest have been using this lens to question the ways we do things and find greener, more sustainable solutions.
This curiosity and creativity is exactly what is needed to prompt real change and create a more sustainable future. I look forward to seeing the vision of our participants in Design for Change move from ideation to innovation to reality.
I hope that these last four weeks have inspired you to look at challenges in new ways and have given you hope that together we can build a more sustainable future.
Thank you once again for participating in Design for Change and I wish you all success in your future design challenges. I hope you have a chance this evening to celebrate your accomplishments. Good night.