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Canadian students show they're serious about a greener future
Four university teams each win $25,000 in the TD Friends of the Environment Foundation $100,000 Go Green Challenge - TORONTO, March 23 /CNW/ - From eco-friendly land development to green infrastructure networks, Canadian students have big ideas to improve urban sustainability. TD Friends of the Environment Foundation (TD FEF) today announced the winners of the second annual $100,000 Go Green Challenge, a national competition that invited university and college teams of two or more students to submit an essay containing an idea or proposal that would have a positive environmental impact on a community. Participation in this year's contest more than doubled last year's with essays from 182 teams representing 460 students from 52 schools across the country. The four winning teams include students from Lakehead University, University of Manitoba, University of New Brunswick and University of Waterloo. Each of the four winning teams will receive a $25,000 cash prize. "Canadian students have planted the seeds for change by rising to the challenge to share their big ideas to improve environmental sustainability," says Mary Desjardins, Executive Director, TD Friends of the Environment Foundation. "The overwhelming response exceeded our expectations and we commend Canadian students for their commitment to making a positive impact on the environment." The winning submissions are: Guided Eco Tours Toronto (GETT), Lakehead University - A large portion of existing and successful ecotourism in Toronto is self-guided. GETT supports and maintains the tradition of providing self-guided tours, highlighting green spaces in Toronto. With their plan to develop additional green guided tours, GETT would provide a unique opportunity for Toronto residents and visitors to get involved in local green initiatives, further promoting environmental sustainability in the city. - Student members: Colleen Bator, Alesha Breckenridge and Fiona Street, Faculty of Education. Faculty sponsor: Sue Hamel, Faculty of Education. Research and Partnership Opportunities in University Land Development, University of New Brunswick (UNB) - The University of New Brunswick is developing a forested landholding, the UNB Woodlot, situated within the municipal limits of the City of Fredericton. The team proposed a plan to change how the Woodlot will be developed that integrates multiple elements of environmentally- based community design by incorporating faculty and students in the development process. The team outlined how Knowledge Park could become a modern green community that will serve the needs of UNB and the knowledge industry in New Brunswick. - Student members: Jennifer Hayward and Jane Simmons, Geological Engineering; Kerri Krawec, Political Science; and Rachel Savidge, Mechanical Engineering. Faculty sponsor: Dr. Kerry MacQuarrie, Civil Engineering. New Ways to Look at Old Spaces: A Vision for Green Infrastructure Networks, University of Manitoba - Issues of sustainability, once on the lower end of municipal priorities, are now being recognized as critical components in how city planning decisions are being made. Many planning and design initiatives currently focus on the expansion of urban centres in a more sustainable way, rather than on ways to make existing urban areas more sustainable. This team developed a plan to implement citywide networks of green infrastructure that build on the unique characteristics of the existing infrastructure corridors, which would result in increased levels of urban sustainability. - Student members: Chris Baker, Kaeley Wiseman and Richard Mahé, City Planning. Faculty sponsor: Dr. David van Vliet, City Planning. My Green Neighbour: Residential Energy Efficiency Loans for Canadian Investors, University of Waterloo - Improving residential energy efficiency saves Canadians money in the long-run, but some may need a loan to afford the initial improvements. My Green Neighbour is an online project that matches Canadians in need of a loan for residential energy efficiency projects with individual Canadians seeking a good return on their investment. The plan provides an investment vehicle to Canadians, allows homeowners to benefit financially from their retrofit and helps Canada reduce overall greenhouse gas emissions. - Student members: Bianca Sayan, Faculty of the Environment; and Megan Chan, Faculty of the Arts, School of Accountancy. Faculty Sponsor: Steven Young, Faculty of the Environment. Members of the $100,000 TD FEF Go Green Challenge judging panel were: Glen Murray, CEO Canadian Urban Institute; Brock Carlton, CEO, Federation of Canadian Municipalities; Dr. Vicky Sharpe, President and CEO, Sustainable Development Technology Canada; and Jesse Row, Director, Sustainable Communities Group, Pembina Institute. Together they selected the winning four teams based on creativity, originality, viability and the positive impact the submission would have on the livability of Canadian communities. "It was a real challenge to choose only four winning ideas this year," says Dr. Vicky Sharpe, President and CEO, Sustainable Development Technology Canada and judging panel member. "The submissions were well-written and strategic, and included plans for innovative projects such as residential energy efficient loans and green-guided tours. Based on the quality of the entries and number of submissions, environmental sustainability is clearly a key priority for many Canadian students." "Asking university and college students to write a 4,000-word essay over and above their existing workload is like taking on a second job with no pay; so to see participation in our contest more than double is an accomplishment we're really proud of," adds Desjardins. For more information on the TD FEF $100,000 Go Green Challenge winners and their submissions, please visit www.tdcanadatrust.com/gogreen. About TD Friends of the Environment Foundation (TD FEF) Since 1990, TD FEF has provided $47 million in funding to over 17,500 grassroots environment and wildlife projects across Canada. In 2008, TD FEF provided more than $3 million in support of over 800 projects. Thousands of TD customers and employees donate to TD FEF on a monthly basis and TD Bank Financial Group contributes in excess of $1 million annually. TD also covers the management costs of running TD FEF; this ensures 100 per cent of every dollar donated goes directly to funding environment and wildlife projects in the community where the donation was made. For more information on how to donate and get involved in your community, visit www.fef.ca.
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