Best of FES

10 - IEJ Project

Led by FES/Osgoode professor and Canadian Research Chair, Deborah McGregor, the York-based Indigenous Environmental Justice (IEJ) Project began in 2015 in pursuit of developing a more “grassroots” or community-orientated understanding of environmental justice.  2017 saw the expansion of this research to online resources with the introduction of the project’s own website,

9 - Change Your World 2017

More than 1,000 high school students across 14 school boards in Ontario heard words of encouragement and inspiration on becoming the next generation of environmentally active citizens during
Change Your World (CYW) 2017. The event, held April 6 at the Keele campus, had the largest turnout to date, and headlined April’s Earth Month festivities at York.

8 - OCC

In May 2017, the Ontario Climate Consortium, York University and the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority co-hosted the 5th Annual Ontario Climate Symposium. This year’s symposium, centered on the theme of Just Transformations: The Next 150, brought together speakers and attendees from academia, all levels of government, the private sector, and civil society organizations to discuss pathways towards low-carbon and climate-resilient communities over the next century and beyond.

7 - IREA

Through the Sustainable Energy Initiative, the International Renewable Energy Academy was born in 2017 to meet the rapidly growing need to develop a new group of leaders focused in the principles of achieving 100% renewable energy through a strong community focus that emphasizes experiential learning and constant innovation.

6 - Global Suburbanisms/Towards/After Suburbia

To mark the final stretch of the Major Collaborative Research Initiative (MCRI) Global Suburbanisms, which has been housed at the City Institute at York University and the Faculty of Environmental Studies, project researchers embarked on a seven part seminar series, Towards Suburbia, which began in April and cumulated with the project’s final conference, After Suburbia, in October. Using the conceptual prisms of governance, land and infrastructure, more than 50 researchers worldwide have worked with students and practitioners to produce an unprecedented amount of research on suburbia.

5 - FES hosts Ron Finley

This October, FES received a visit from the (self-described) “gangsta” gardner, Ron Finley, inspiring our students with the notion that one person can change a community. Hosted by the Faculty of Environmental Studies at York University in partnership with Planet in Focus, Tridel / The Bowery Project, The Purple Co, Black Creek Community Farm and FoodShare, Finley shared his experiences in urban gardening, community engagement and culture changes in South Central, Los Angeles and his mission of turning “food prisons into food forests”

4 - Student Success: Syrus Marcus Ware

Syrus Marcus Ware, a PhD student and Vanier Scholar, won the TD Arts Diversity Award, which celebrates a community-engaged artist who is making a significant contribution in Toronto.

3 - Alumni Success

In 2017 many of our outstanding alumni took centre stage in their fields:

  • Anique Jordan, winner of the Toronto Arts Council’s Emerging Artist Award
  • Brett Dolter, recipient of the David Suzuki Foundation Climate Change Fellowship
  • Charmaine Lurch, who was featured with 149 other woman as part of CBC’s HERStory
  • Megan Leslie, YU Alumni named President and CEO of WWF Canada. FES looks forward to a continued partnership for our student success with WWF Canada.

2 - StudentDwellTo

FES professor, Luisa Sotomayor announced as York’s principal Investigator of the StudentDwellTO project, an initiative that brings together Toronto’s four universities – York, OCAD, Ryerson and University of Toronto - to tackle one of the biggest issues facing post-secondary students in the Greater Toronto area: affordable housing.

1 - Las Nubes Semester Aboard

Building on the success of its decade-long summer field courses in Costa Rica, the Faculty of Environmental Studies (FES)launched a full Semester Abroad program open to all York University students in May. The first Las Nubes Semester Abroad attracted 53 students from six York Faculties (FES, Glendon, Health, LA&PS, Science and Education) to York’s EcoCampus, situated in the heart of the Las Nubes Forest Reserve in the Alexander Skutch Corridor. The program offered students six environmental studies courses that touched upon a wide range of topics, including food sovereignty, indigenous issues, conservation, sustainable development, environmental health and tropical ecology.