2022 SR&S Capstone Winners Announced

Four participants in the 2021-2022 cohort of St. Michael’s prestigious Graduate Diploma in Social Responsibility & Sustainability have received the President’s Capstone Award for their summative projects.

“The University of St. Michael’s College is pleased to offer the SR&S program because it aligns directly with our overall institutional mission to be a force for good in society,” says University President David Sylvester. “The Capstone Award winners demonstrate how important this program is to effect positive change both in Canada and internationally.” 

In the category of Advancing Social &/or Environmental Impact, Heather McKelvey was recognized for her project, Integrating EST into Small to Medium-Sized Enterprises. The panel of three experts evaluating submissions described her work as “practical and compelling.” One judge noted that the project “identifies a stunning discrepancy in sustainability and social responsibility work” because the tools available to measure such work mostly apply to large-size enterprises, even though small- to medium-sized businesses make up 99.8% or all enterprises in Canada.

The category of Advancing Social & Environmental Responsibility, Sustainability and/or ESG into their Organization saw a tie resulting in two awards granted, with Amanda Baron’s A Review of Climate Risk and Resilience Management at Metro Vancouver Regional District and Patricia Escobar’s Assessing the Sustainability of Operations at the University of Toronto Scarborough (UTSC) each receiving top honours.

Baron’s work, which looks at issues related to managing climate risk in Metro Vancouver, was described as “extensive, thorough, well written,” with judges noting that the assessment of addressing strengths and weaknesses “is very effective and awakening for the reader, especially as it relates to potential damage and potential impacts from climate risk if issues are not addressed.”

Escobar, whose project created a customized gap assessment, was praised by judges for managing to “inform, educate, recognize, celebrate and provide a critical eye with recommendations for next steps.”

The final winner was Rosalind Share’s project, Rubric to Evaluate an Asset Manager’s Net Zero Emissions Strategy, in the category of Advancing Innovative Practices in Social and Environmental Responsibility, Sustainability and/or ESG in their Organization. Share was praised for creating a “robust” rubric that asset managers can use to accurately measure claims of net zero carbon emission strategies.

Another seven program participants were awarded Honourable Mentions:

  • Madelaine L. Emberson: “A Framework for Community Investment & Stakeholder Engagement at Navigatr Group”
  • Leigh Jasmine: “Barriers and opportunities for building multi-stakeholder partnerships that accelerate social impact: An exploration of perspectives from the not-for-profit and corporate sector.”
  • Trish Tervit: “How Dare You: how language brings hope to the climate change conversation Incorporating best practices for impactful sustainability communications”
  • Siobhan Barrie: “Raising the Bar, Spirit of Inclusion Initiative – LCBO Internship Program”
  • Marie Claude Mongeon: “Sustainable Development Planning at the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal (MAC)”
  • Mika Unterman: “Barriers to Adoption of SR&S in the Cannabis Industry, and Using Peer-to-Peer Structure for Better Outcomes”
  • Emily Chiu: “An Analysis of CSR Strategies: Takeaways from Best-in-Class Executions”

A total of 48 students graduated with the most recent cohort.

Those considered for the President’s Capstone Award are nominated by the mentors they work with over the 16-month course of the program. Projects are assessed by a three-person panel, which includes experts in the fields of corporate social responsibility and sustainability.

Forty students are accepted annually to St. Michael’s SR&S program. The diploma’s “work as you learn” approach allows students to take their career in Social Responsibility and Sustainability to the next level. Participants tackle and solve a Sustainability/ESG challenge in their company in a major action project under the mentorship of faculty and co-learners; experience practical “real world” change management through the Experience Change Simulation and join a prestigious community of St. Michael’s alumni in continuing education, sharing, and networking. Graduates receive the post-nominal letters G. Dipl. SR&S. The diploma program is now accepting applications for 2023-2024. To apply, please see the Diploma in Social Responsibility and Sustainability website.