4th Annual Catalyst Awards [2014]

The Office of Sustainability is proud to recognize the significant efforts that take place at McGill to grow toward campus sustainability. The Catalyst Awards and the Emerald Key acknowledge the students and staff who have gone above and beyond in their work to integrate sustainability into McGill's knowledgebase, operations, and culture.


Emerald Key

The Emerald Key is given out to a student who has made an outstanding and enduring contribution to the sustainability movement at McGill University. 
Kathleen Bradley           Emerald Key 2014


The Catalyst Awards from The Office of Sustainability

The Catalyst Awards are given out to students, academic, administrative and support staff who have contributed to the sustainability movement at McGill University in the following categories:


Christopher Tegho

Award for Student Collaboration on Sustainability with the Administration 2014

Out of the Garden

Catalyst Award for Lessons Learned in Sustainability 2014

Farm to School

Catalyst Award for Applied Student Research in Sustainability 2014

Marcy Slapcoff

Catalyst Award for Staff Contribution to Sustainability 2014

Dr. Marianna Newkirk Catalyst Award for Staff Contribution to Sustainability 2014



Kathleen Bradley (Emerald Key Award)

Kathleen Bradley is a fourth year philosophy and economics student finishing a minor in management. She loves to cook and is interested in environmental and social sustainability as it relates to food systems around the world. Recently, she opened and now co-manages the Student-Run Café, a sustainability initiative started in the Shatner Building at the Students’ Society of McGill University. She is the finance coordinator for the McGill Farmers’ Market, and is very excited to be taking on the position again next year. She is also the Executive Director of Second Servings, a food waste redistribution program that addresses food security issues within the Montreal community.

Kathleen has recently been elected as incoming VP Finance and Operations at SSMU, where she will be taking her commitment to sustainability to the next level through managing the Society’s Investment Portfolio and overseeing the financial longevity of the SSMU’s many clubs and services. Kathleen is an altogether incredibly passionate student who models the full breadth of sustainability—social, economic, and environmental—through her work and life.


Emerald Key Award Finalist:

Valérie Toupin-Dubé


Christopher Tegho (Award for Student Collaboration on Sustainability with the Administration)

Chris Tegho is a student in Electrical Engineering, and is especially passionate about sustainable energy at McGill University. His Energy Management Information System aims to develop analytical aids to help McGill laboratory users understand energy consumption data, and to put the results to practical use. He is the current McGill Energy Project Internal Manager, and has initiated new awareness around energy projects and consumption on campus. He recently represented McGill University at the World Future Energy Summit, where he placed emphasis on how applied student research can lead to advanced technology in sustainability. Chris’s strong belief in social equity and incorporating sustainability principles led him to become the EUS equity commissioner, where he launched a series of discussions on the concept of “safer space” in collaboration with the Dean of Engineering.

Chris’s interdisciplinary efforts and attention to anti-oppressive principles has been an important connection between social and environmental sustainability. The links drawn between research, education, and cross-campus partnerships have been a model of breaking down siloes towards sustainability at McGill.

Award for Student Collaboration on Sustainability with the Administration Finalist:

Jennifer Ashfield, ECOLE  more info


Out of the Garden (Catalyst Award for ‘lessons learned’)

The Out-of-the-Garden project (OGP) – Alternative Café is a club, a group, and a community that is dedicated to providing Macdonald students and staff with healthy, diverse meals using locally produced vegetables. The Café serves meals that  are produced, processed, and served at Mac Campus, and has transformed the Ceilidh into a communal gathering and skill-sharing space. Their food is not only delicious, but offers gluten-free, nut-free, vegetarian and vegan meals, and is based on feedback through surveys and recipe testing.

OGP has worked with the administration, stayed true to their core mission of providing healthy meals, and have created a strong learning atmosphere around dietetics, nutrition, food science, environmental biology, agriculture, and business. Their strong partnerships with numerous student groups and educational workshops make them an excellent example of a student-run initiative dedicated to building a culture of sustainability at McGill.

Farm to School (Catalyst Award for Applied Student Research)

The mission of Farm to School is to engage elementary students in the understanding of where food comes from, and the science behind the food system. The project brings together undergraduate students to build educational modules for various ages, which they will put online to be freely available for all teachers. Since May 2013, over 200 elementary school children have come to Macdonald campus to gain inspiration about science and sustainability in agriculture, environment and nutrition. Farm to School was the hundredth Sustainability Projects Fund initiative to be funded, and shows no signs of slowing down.

McGill student volunteers have participated in this project through AGRI 490, and spread a love for food systems to younger children. This semester, nine students are preparing modules for eighty elementary school students who will attend the camp over the summer. The intersections between education and environmental sustainability shine through in this wonderful project.




Marcy Slapcoff (Catalyst Award for staff contribution to sustainability)

Marcy Slapcoff is a devoted fan of sustainability at McGill University. Since she first joined Teaching and Learning Services as an Educational Developer in 2006, Marcy has been exploring ways to promote sustainability as a foundational principle within the formal and informal curriculum. As the founder of the Teaching-Research Nexus project and leader of the Inquiry Network, she has worked with cross-disciplinary groups of faculty members to find ways to further students’ development as engaged and critical citizens. Her interest in sustainability motivates her questioning of the values that underlie many of our habitual behaviors as members of McGill and the wider community, and she has enjoyed many fruitful discussions with students and staff on this topic.  She is honoured to have been part of the Sustainability Projects Fund Working Group since its inception and to participate in the flourishing culture of sustainability on campus. Marcy is also the happy mother of 2 children, aged 9 and 12, and has spent much of her spare time during the last year building a cabin in Vermont with her husband.


Staff Contribution to Sustainability Efforts Finalist:

Kathy Zendehbad  more info


Dr. Marianna Newkirk (Catalyst Award for staff contribution to sustainability)

Dr. Marianna Newkirk retired from the role as Associate Dean (Research) in the Faculty of Medicine at McGill University at the end of 2013 after almost 6 years in that position. She did her PhD in Immunology at the University of Toronto, and then post-doctoral studies at the University of Texas Health Sciences Centre in Dallas prior to her recruitment to McGill. As a Faculty of Medicine member at McGill since 1987 she maintained an immunology / rheumatology research laboratory at the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre until her retirement. Dr. Newkirk was instrumental in  attracting and organizing the highly successful International Congress of Immunology held in Montreal in 2004. She was council member and then treasurer of the International Union of Immunological Societies for a total of 12 years. She was also President of Immunology Montreal for 8 years which brought together Immunologists from several universities in the greater Montreal area in order to promote collaboration and education about Immunology which extended to the community at large.

While Associate Dean, Dr. Newkirk was involved in many different activities that helped to promote Research excellence at McGill. She was instrumental in establishing a sustainability project on laboratory practices with the focus on better and environmentally friendly biobanking and freezer use. This project has had broad uptake and has the potential to lead to considerable financial savings to the university while being kinder to the environment. Importantly this project has led to inclusion of these concepts even in the curriculum. It is anticipated that a paper outlining the McGill experience with this project will be submitted for publication in the coming months.


Staff Contribution to Sustainability Finalists:

François Bouffard, Steve Maguire


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