UBC has partnered with the City of Kelowna on an innovative academic grant program that transforms Kelowna’s Glenmore neighborhood into a ‘living laboratory’ for sustainability.
Created by the Provost and Vice Principal as a pilot project, the Sustainable Community Development Internal Grant Award Program consists of up to four $10,000 awards. The money will enable university faculty, students, staff and the community to work together on social, environmental, economic and cultural sustainable community development initiatives and programming within the Glenmore area of Kelowna.
“UBC continues to play an important role in our community through applicable, meaningful research initiatives,” says Alaa Abd-El-Aziz, Provost and Vice Principal of UBC’s Okanagan campus. “This new grant is a testament to the strong commitment our faculty, staff and students hold towards community engagement — and building meaningful partnerships leading to sustainable solutions that enhance our collective future.”
The Glenmore area was chosen as the “living laboratory” because of the area’s diversity of old and new housing, mix of residential and commercial properties, demographic mixture and demonstrated sense of community involvement.
Projects will focus on local sustainability issues and include hands-on and research elements that have the potential to inform knowledge advancement and operational change.
City of Kelowna Manager Ron Mattiussi says the partnership will help address key areas of interest, such as water use, garbage collection, transit connections, green space and neighbourhood aesthetics.
“One of the goals of the City of Kelowna is to build strong and sustainable neighbourhoods that foster healthy community living and lifestyle,” says Mattiussi. “The City is striving to find ways to focus more of our policies and programs at a neighbourhood level. This new partnership allows us to leverage the university’s expertise to apply and evaluate emerging best practices in sustainable living and stewardship, and bring that into our communities.”
The Sustainable Community Development grant is administered by the Research Services Office and is sponsored by the Office of the Provost and the Okanagan Sustainability Office.
The deadline for researchers to submit their applications is February 15, with projects beginning next spring and continuing throughout the summer.
Leanne Bilodeau, Director of Sustainability Operations at UBC, says sustainability is a key area of interest for the university and that UBC is committed to fostering partnerships that result in constructive change on a local, national and global level.
“True transformation depends on engagement with the broader community, with citizens, businesses, institutions and the university working together toward shared objectives,” says Bilodeau.
The university will host a workshop in January welcoming interested faculty, staff, students, representatives of the City and members of the Glenmore community, to stimulate ideas and discuss possible partnership projects that may apply to faculty grant applications. To find out more call Bilodeau at firstname.lastname@example.org..
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