The holidays inspire me to reflect on the many things that we have cause to celebrate here at SENS.
The bright and passionate people that make up the SENS community, including its students, faculty, staff, and partners, are what make this school an international destination site and such a rewarding place to work.
Our current students make me hopeful for the future of our planet. They are eager to learn, get involved with their communities, and make a positive difference in the world. In 2018, five SENS graduate students received Mowat Awards. The recipients, Razak Abu, Lorelei Ford, Maggie Norris, Cory Whiteley, and Bei Yan, were chosen for their outstanding contributions to their respective environmental fields.
Many of our alumni have gone on to have successful careers in sustainability. For example, Palash Sanyal and Leah Luciuk, two SENS alumni, were recently named in Corporate Knights magazine’s list of “Top 30 Under 30” sustainability leaders in Canada for 2018. Another SENS alumnus, Dr. Ranjan Datta (PhD), received a prestigious Banting Postdoctoral Fellowship for working with Indigenous peoples to mitigate the negative impact that pipeline leaks have on their communities.
I am honoured to work with the excellent faculty at SENS. Not only are they great scholars and educators, but they are also global leaders in their fields. Dr. Tim Jardine was the spring 2018 recipient of the New Researcher Award and has distinguished himself as an international leader in the field of applied aquatic ecology. Dr. Jeffrey McDonnell received the fall 2018 Distinguished Researcher Award. He is an international expert in hydrology and a mentor to dozens of graduate students who have become academic leaders.
We have some of the best community partners that we could hope for. In particular, I am glad that I have had the opportunity to strengthen my friendships with our Indigenous partners. As our Indigenous Mentor and representative from the Mistawasis Nêhiyawak, Anthony Blair Dreaver Johnston has been a wonderful influence on our school and has provided great learning opportunities for our students. We have also been happy to continue our partnerships with Beardy’s and Okemasis First Nation and Cumberland House and look forward to forming more connections with other Indigenous communities in Canada.
Our school has also been fortunate to have partnerships with numerous industry and government organizations. In particular, I would like to acknowledge our new partners who are helping to develop the Flagship Program for Renewable Energy in Northern, Remote and Indigenous Communities, including the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, SaskPower, Gwich’in Tribal Council, Saskatchewan Polytechnic, ONEC Construction Inc., and Valard Construction LP.
SENS would not be a successful hub without the other stellar units on campus. I would especially like to thank the colleges of Agriculture and Bioresources; Arts and Science, including the departments of Geography and Planning and Indigenous Studies; Engineering; Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies; Law; the School of Public Health, Edwards School of Business; Johnson Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy; the Global Institute for Water Security; Global Institute for Food Security; and the Toxicology Centre.
I am thankful for our forward-thinking internal and external community members who make our school innovative. As our unit aims to be a global leader in sustainability undisciplined, I am grateful for the world-class leaders in SENS who will help us to achieve this mission. Together, we will work beyond disciplinary and institutional silos to confront humanity’s greatest challenges and opportunities.
Happy holidays and happy New Year.
Dr. Irena Creed (PhD), SENS Executive Director