Igniting the spark

February 28, 2017

Kerstyn Lane engages the campus in a conversation about sustainability

image-SUSTMAR-KLANEA small action can make a big impression. Kerstyn Lane often ventures into the halls of MacEwan University to talk to people about sustainability, and she’s hoping this seemingly simple action affects major change.

"My entry into the world of sustainability began in high school with a couple of very inspiring teachers who cared a lot about people and the environment," she says. “I want to be that person for other people—the person who inspires others to get passionate about the things they care about.”

As the outreach and engagement coordinator for MacEwan’s Office of Sustainability, Kerstyn is in a pretty good position to do just that.

"I'd love to see a bigger culture of sustainability on campus,” she says. “Right now, there's pockets and silos of people who really care and want to get involved, but I think there's also a lot of potential to grow our network of sustainability on campus between student groups and clubs, academics and the external community.”

By engaging in a dialogue with students, staff and faculty, Kerstyn makes the seemingly lofty goals associated with sustainability seem a lot more attainable.

“Right now, we’re in a time where a wide diversity of people are getting together to tackle some important challenges,” she says. “There's room to make mistakes, but there's also fire under our seats to make things better."

Kerstyn has shared her perspective on sustainability with hundreds of people during her time at MacEwan, and in doing so, she hopes to raise awareness for different types of wellness.

“The term ‘sustainability’ is broad and kind of vague, but to me, it means keeping in mind that our actions influence and impact others,” she says. “We need to be leaving a world behind that’s better for the generations ahead, and we also need to respect the cultures and situations of people who currently inhabit the planet.”

Actions associated with environmental conservation and social justice can take place on an individual level, but when a community comes together, those individual actions can culminate to create meaningful, lasting change.

“Students, academics and university staff have a mindset about them that typically explores future possibilities,” she says. “I really love having challenging and forward-looking conversations with people, and the university gives us space to tackle these in a safer way, where we can handle controversial topics and we can actually debate them, rather than just limiting ourselves to one side or the other.

"Based on the inspiring conversations I’ve had with the folks at MacEwan, I think this university has a lot of potential to look forward to positive change."

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