Chief Sustainability Officer, York University
York University’s Faculty of Environmental and Urban Change prepares students to thrive in a variety of sustainability careers.
For students seeking to turn a passion for environmental and social justice into a rewarding career, York University’s Faculty of Environmental and Urban Change (EUC) is the place to be. The Faculty prepares students with the knowledge, critical thinking skills, hands-on experience, and global perspectives they need to achieve personal success and make positive change.
The EUC’s undergraduate programs include Cities, Regions, Planning (BES), Environmental Arts and Justice (BES), Environmental Science (BSc), Global Geography (BA), and Sustainable Environmental Management (BES). Following three years of study in one of these programs, students can proceed to two years of graduate study in the EUC’s Master in Environmental Studies (MES) program, a self-directed and interdisciplinary program aimed at equipping students to create positive social and environmental change. Starting in Fall 2024, student can also choose to include EUC’s new Co-op program in their university experience at York U.
The diversity of careers in sustainability
“The EUC is a very interdisciplinary faculty,” says Mike Layton, Chief Sustainability Officer at York University. “We have programs and research projects between EUC and our Osgoode Hall law school, our Schulich School of Business, our Faculty of Arts, Media, Performance and Design,our Lassonde School of Engineering, and more. You can see an element of sustainability across every Faculty at YorkU.”
That’s because nowadays, sustainability concerns are relevant in just about every field and industry — from energy, agriculture, fashion, and transportation to construction, technology, and corporate ESG concerns at every major corporation. This opens up a whole world of enriching and rewarding careers in sustainability for EUC graduates.
“Environmental studies really open up a lot of doors in so many different fields,” says Quin Douris, BES ’23, a senior environmental consultant at Canadian Tire. “Every field in our changing world will require some focus on the environment.”
Opening up possibilities
“There are a lot of different possibilities and opportunities out there right now within the environmental field,” says Rajbalinder Ghatoura, BES ’22, a political mobilizer with the Ontario Green Party and project coordinator with the City of Brampton. “The BES program provided a great foundation in a variety of different environmental fields, from environmental management and urban planning to environmental justice and politics. That foundation really helped prepare me for the workforce.”
It’s that mix of interdisciplinary education, faculty members with lived experience in the field, and experiential education that really prepares students for having an impact.”
“We’re experiencing a rise of climactic events and changes, and I think the centrality of us being in environmental studies, engaging in a really nuanced and critical way, is going to be super important in every career,” adds Alyssa Marchese, BES, current MES/JD candidate, an Environmental, Social and Governance manager. “It’s not one particular job or one particular field.”
Preparing students for the future of work
Not only is EUC interdisciplinary, it’s also supportive of students’ independence, autonomy, and various areas of interest. Students in the MES program can choose their own direction, exploring critical issues in a range of topics including: environmental conservation and management; climate change and sustainable energy transitions; sustainable food systems; environmental and Indigenous justice; international development and global inequities; decolonization, equity, diversity, and inclusion; and environmental education, arts, and culture.
“The MES program allowed me to think outside of the typical planning box,” says Bria Hamilton, BES and MES-Planning alumni, a freelance geographic information systems technician and community engagement worker. “I’m interested in creating planning practices that are more equitable, taking the needs of marginalized communities into consideration. I was able to do a unique final project that let me consider how to do that in new ways.”
EUC graduates are the future policy-planners, decision-makers, and project leaders that organizations around the world need — and they’re proud to be working to make positive change for a just and sustainable future.
“Getting to work with one of the largest corporations in Canada and to help them reach their ESG goals, and to see the tangible difference in waste reduction, more sustainable buildings, and net-zero renewable energy is incredible,” says Douris.
The program empowers students with not only the education and experience they need, but also a powerful sense of agency. “What the MES taught me is that if you want to do something, you can do it,” says Marchese. “You just have to find it within yourself and find the proper community to support you.”
The graduate and undergraduate programs in EUC are designed to do exactly this — to give students the tools they need to change the world. “It’s that mix of interdisciplinary education, faculty members with lived experience in the field, and experiential education that really prepares students for having an impact,” says Layton.
Did You Know?
Launching in Fall 2024, EUC will offer a co-op experience in all programs!
Learn more at yorku.ca/EUC.