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Home » Best of YU: EUC's Top Moments of 2021

Best of YU: EUC's Top Moments of 2021

Picture of Ammon Cherry smiling

Ammon Cherry received Robert J. Tiffin Student Leadership Award. In his time at EUC he served as president of the EUC’s Student Association (EUCSA). He was part of the Black Excellence YU Student Consultations, whose input contributed to the actions outlined in York’s Anti-Black Racism Framework. Cherry also served as a president’s ambassador, alumni ambassador and a as student representative on several Faculty committees while pursuing his studies.

Professor Sheila Colla received the 2021 C. Gordon Hewitt Award for scientists with outstanding contributions to entomology in Canada. She was recognized for her notable achievements in the field of entomological research, conservation, education and outreach in Canada and beyond.  This award is given annually to an individual judged to have made an outstanding contribution to entomology in Canada, and who received their PhD within the preceding 12 years.

Professor Shiel Colla stading in front of a beach
More than Migrants film opening credit

Las Nubes launches the Grounded Project with a film premiere of More than Migrants directed by Professor Felipe Montoya, Las Nubes Director and EUC Chair of Neotropical Conservation on June 10. The Grounded Project is a new pan-university and international research collaboration that seeks to engage in transdisciplinary conversations among academics, expert practitioners, local stakeholders and actors on the ground with participatory documentary filming to mobilize knowledge about complex issues of the Brunca Region in San Jose, Costa Rica and is supported by EUC, Faculty of Health, York International and York Libraries. The More than Migrants film follows the lived experience of nine people laboring to make a new life for themselves and their families as migrants in Costa Rica. The documentary is the first of a series filmed in Costa Rica that gather experiences of people whose livelihoods are substantially linked to the earth and whose interactions with the environment not only reveal the structural elements that constrain the pursuit of social and ecological wellbeing, but also the opportunities that these experiences offer for the construction of alternative ways of living.

EUC advances Experiential Education, taking learning outside the classroom.

Professors Laura Taylor and Jose Etcheverry were awarded federal grant from Co-operative Education Work-Integrated Learning (CEWIL) to provide paid hands-on learning opportunities for students. Etcheverry created extra-curricular training program called  UNSDG Precision Agriculture, Renewable Energies & Sustainable Enterprise Training (UPARESET) to provide students with practical training to understand the UNSDGs & Earth Charter to take climate action. Taylor provided real work experience within her classroom through paid work where students worked closely with Climate Risk Institute to review and provide feedback for their climate change adaptation training program.

In August 2021, EUC students and their professors, W. Steven Tufts and Richard Bello, took their learning into the field for a week long exploration of the Bruce Peninsula (aka 'the Bruce'). The Bruce Peninsula is an UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve containing the largest continuous forest in southern Ontario.

Bruce Peninsula photo
Lake with mountain in the background

EUC’s action on Indigenous Justice in Canada.

Over the past year EUC hosted two seminar series Miijim: Food as Relations’ which consisted of  conversations across disciplines, geographies and generations on diverse Indigenous foods, human and more-than-human relations, and on food’s capacity to connect people with places, language, and history is intended to help us understand the complex network of food relations and ‘Polishing the Chain: Treaty Relations in Toronto’ bringing together Indigenous and allied scholars, knowledge holders, artists, Earth workers and activists who explore the historical significance and contemporary relevance of the treaties Indigenous nations in southern Ontario have made with each other, with the land and with the Crown.

Professor Deborah McGregor’s Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Environmental Justice was renewed and she was also appointed as the first Director of York’s new Centre for Indigenous Knowledges and Languages. This new organized research unit (ORU) is the first at the University to focus on Indigenous and decolonizing scholarship.

Professor Lisa Myers was awarded Tier 2 York Research Chair in Indigenous Art and Curatorial Practice. Myers is a curator and artist with a keen interest in interdisciplinary collaboration. Her research focuses on contemporary Indigenous art considering the varied values and functions of elements, such as medicine plants and language, sound, and knowledge. Through many media and materials, including socially engaged art approaches, her art practice examines place, underrepresented histories/present/futures, and collective forms of knowledge exchange.

Professor Dayna Scott received an award from Government of Canada's New Frontiers in Research Fund. She is the principal investigator of the project titled, “Jurisdiction Back: Infrastructure beyond Extractivism.” The project received $ 246,725.00 in funding. 

Associate VP of Research and Innovation at YorkU, EUC Professor Jennifer Hyndman, was elected to the Royal Society of Canada in 2021. The award is in recognition of her outstanding accomplishments and leadership as an internationally recognized scholar of human displacement, humanitarian response, feminist geopolitics and refugee subjectivity.

Professor Jennifer Hyndman
Engaging Black People and Power poster

Engaging Black People & Power was a course designed and taught by YU alum, award-winning author and placemaker Jay Pitter where students reviewed theoretical texts, interviewed leading Black urbanists, and began to codify culturally respectful practices and policies for redressing anti-Blackness within urbanism sectors. Embracing experiential education and community-engagement to expand and extend student learning beyond the classroom, student learning experiences of the course were nothing short of inspired and pivotal. The course culminated with a publication of 10 compelling case studies aimed at transforming place-making practice in tangible
and meaningful ways; including engagement practice and policy approaches for addressing spatialized anti-Blackness in cities across North America.

This summer marked the 30th anniversary of International Political Economy and Ecology (IPEE) Summer School organized by EUC. This year's guest professor for the seminar titled ‘Freedom Dreams: Approaching the Transnational Political Economy of Race’ was Robin Davis Gibran Kelley, a Distinguished Professor of History and the Gary B. Nash Endowed Chair in U.S. History at UCLA. In a public dialogue titled ‘Visualizing Freedom Dreams,’ moderated by Julie Crooks, head of the department of Arts of Global Africa and the Diaspora at the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO), they explored what it means to visualize freedom dreams, placing their own contemporary work in dialogue with historical images contained in the Montgomery Collection of Caribbean Photographs recently acquired by the AGO.

Picture of Robin Davis Gibran Kelley
Picture of Miranda Baksh and Nicole Doray

EUC Alumni Miranda Baksh (BES '17, MES '19) and Nicole Doray (MES '19) named in York's inaugural Top 30 Changemakers Under 30. The list recognizes and honours the inspiring and diverse alumni who are exemplary leaders in creating positive change, at home and abroad.

Baksh is an environmental educator, public speaker, and climate action catalyst who co-founded the Community Climate Council (CCC), of which she is the chief executive officer. Her Master’s degree research focused on the intersections between biodiversity conservation and digital science communication. Her passion for climate justice led her to investigate ecosystem-based disaster reduction in Belize, and eco-health approaches to conservation in Costa Rica. Near the end of her studies, after co-organizing the first climate march in her city and delegating for the Region of Peel’s climate change master plan, she recognized that there lacked a platform for her community, specifically racialized and marginalized youth, to take the lead on local climate action. The CCC, comprised of about 30 volunteer council members, fills this crucial gap, where she and her team are now able to empower community members through enhancing climate literacy and political engagement. She aims to inspire youth to follow their passion and to recognize that we can all collectively drive solutions towards climate and community resilience.

Doray is a dedicated social impact specialist and environmental champion who brings cross-disciplinary experience to her work supporting Canada’s low-carbon and socially-inclusive economic transition. Working across the public and private sector, she supports leaders navigating complex challenges, leveraging business and academia as forces for good. At the Academy for Sustainable Innovation, she shapes innovative education programs with academic partners across Canada including at York University, the University of Waterloo, and l’Université de Montréal, among others. Simultaneously, she helps industry partners build organizational resilience while driving innovation, inclusivity, and sustainability. Currently, Nicole is also pursuing advancements in climate science, policy, and community resilience as a senior researcher at ASI International. Her 2020 report, Leveraging Technology for a Healthy Planet, informed the equitable integration of emergent technologies such as AI, blockchain, and big data for environmental and social benefit.  

PhD in Environmental Studies Candidate Maureen Owino received the prestigious Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship in 2021 Owino’s research, titled "When HIV and COVID-19 Pandemics Collide in Black Communities in Canada," confronts issues relating to pandemic responses that impact already vulnerable communities.

Picture of Black Lives Matter Demonstration