9th Annual Catalyst Awards

The Office of Sustainability is proud to recognize the diverse efforts that take place at McGill to grow toward campus sustainability. This year's annual Catalyst Awards Gala recognizes the achievements of three groups which have excelled in: Operations; Connectivity and Governance & Administration; and the Research and Education Categories of the McGill Vision 2020 Sustainability Strategy. We continue to recognize one outstanding student with the Emerald Key award. 

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. 
Julien Tremblay-GravelEmerald Key 2019

Distinguished Contribution Award

The Distinguished Contribution Award recognizes an administrative and support and/or academic staff member who has made a profound, sustained, and cumulative contribution to advancing sustainability in the larger McGill community.
George McCourt

Distinguished Contribution Award 2019

Faculty & Staff Award

McGill Staff members may also win Catalyst Awards for their contributions to the university. These awards recognize staff members who have inspired real change on McGill's campuses, increasing the sustainability of the University.
Angelo BattistaStaff Contribution to Sustainability Award 2019

Category Awards

The Catalyst Awards are given out to projects that have contributed to the sustainability movement at McGill University in the following categories:

McGill Sustainability Systems InitiativeSustainability in Research & Education Award 2019Desautels Sustainability NetworkSustainability in Connectivity & Governance Award 2019MealCareSustainability in Operations Award 2019

About the Recipients: 

Julien Tremblay-Gravel (Emerald Key Award)


Julien Tremblay-Gravel is a Bachelor of Common Law (LLB) and Civil Law (BCL) candidate in the McGill Faculty of Law and holds a Master’s degree in experimental surgery-orthopaedics. Through his involvement with various groups and projects, both on and off campus, Julien is constantly working to build a culture of sustainability on campus. As the 2017-2018 Community Affairs Commissioner for the Student Society of McGill University (SSMU), Julien helped organize the Trash2Treasure pilot project, which saw five ton of household items diverted from landfills and helped furnish the homes of 19 refugee families. He has also notably spearheaded a study of the Faculty of Law’s environmental impacts in preparation for a unit-level Climate and Sustainability Action Plan.


George McCourt (Distinguished Contribution Award)


George McCourt’s commitment to sustainability has been a cornerstone of his 21-year career at McGill. Through his teaching and research in both the School of Environment and Faculty of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, George encourages students to apply a sustainability lens to work that impacts their broader communities, often using the campus as a living lab under the Applied Student Research project model. This work includes research-based initiatives that have allowed for the creation of a food waste composting plan for all of downtown McGill’s Food and Dining Services and the development of a process that led to McGill becoming the first Canadian university to obtain a sustainable seafood purchasing certification for all of the seafood served in its residences. A key stakeholder in McGill’s sustainability journey, George has also been an integral part of the Sustainability Projects Fund’s evolution and the development of the University’s Climate and Sustainability Action Plans. 


McGill Sustainability Systems Initiative (Sustainability in Research & Education Award)


The McGill Sustainability Systems Initiative brings together scholars from a variety of disciplines with the goal of advancing the University’s capacity for and contribution to sustainability research. The initiative makes space for researchers to reach across fields, allowing experts from sciences and humanities to co-develop significant, impactful and socially relevant advances that move society towards a sustainable model of existence. In the last year, MSSI launched a dashboard that highlights the inter-faculty collaborations and research impacts of its more than 120 members. The dashboard also links MSSI members’ research to the 17 United Nations Sustainability Development Goals.


Desautels Sustainability Network (Sustainability in Connectivity & Governance Award)


The student-led Desautels Sustainability Network (DSN) promotes a culture of sustainable business practices with the goal of empowering students by giving them access to the resources needed to fully understand the opportunities in sustainable business. In 2019, the organization also brought back the Desautels Business Conference on Sustainability, connecting 250 students with 30 industry leaders, making it Montreal's largest (student-led) conference on sustainable business, in addition to other events and long-term projects. Throughout the year, DSN brought together over 1000 students, 50 industry leaders, and 30 student organizations from McGill and other Montreal universities, helping to establish a citywide network of students, faculty and community members interested in sustainable business practices.

MealCare (Sustainability in Operations Awards)


MealCare create a more sustainable food system by diverting surplus food from cafeterias and other vendors at McGill, and donating this food to local homeless shelters and soup kitchens. MealCare tackles food waste, as well as food insecurity. At McGill, MealCare’s student volunteers have diverted over 6,100 pounds of food from being thrown away from their various partners, representing over 6,700 meals donated to those in need. This effort has contributed to the University’s efforts to decrease its waste. As the group grows, it intends on expanding their on-campus partnerships to work with all food vendors at McGill to ultimately divert all surplus edible food from landfill to local community partners. MealCare is also dedicated to educating the community, specifically youth, on topics of food waste with the intention of helping decrease household food waste. Since its inception, MealCare's co-founders have spread MealCare creating chapters in Ottawa and Guelph, bringing the total amount of meals diverted to over 10,500 across Canada.

Angelo Battista (Staff Contribution to Sustainability Award)


While overseeing the physical infrastructure of the downtown athletics facilities, Angelo Battista goes above and beyond to incorporate sustainable practices wherever he can. When upgrading infrastructure, Angelo selects sustainable options when available such as LED light fixtures, low flow showers and more efficient HVAC systems. However, he also understands that upgrading the facility is not enough and that a culture shift is necessary to make daily operations as sustainable as possible. Within the last year, Angelo led a project to create a sustainability action plan for the Athletics and Recreation department, ensuring that the plan stretched beyond facilities and infrastructure and included outreach, education and advocacy.

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