What is QSUS? What Do We Do?
The Queen’s Sustainability Conference, known as QSUS, is a student-run club at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario. The QSUS executive team is composed of like-minded undergraduate students who are passionate about sustainability and have the goal of growing the sustainability movement within the Queen’s and Kingston communities. We organize and host speaker events, workshops/interactive events, social media campaigns, and a multi-day conference about topics concerning environmental, social, cultural, and economic sustainability
To give you a better idea of what we do here at QSUS, we would love to tell you about some of our past events. In the 2020/2021 academic year, each of our executive members did a social media takeover, where they posted a day in their life through our Instagram account. The goal of the takeovers was to show our viewers what being actively engaged in a sustainable lifestyle to the best of one’s ability can look like, with an emphasis not on being perfectly sustainable, but rather trying to integrate just a few sustainable habits into our daily lives.
In October 2021, we hosted a speaker panel event about the detrimental effects of fast fashion and the global slow fashion movement. We had three speakers from around the world participate in the panel discussion: Jess Sternberg is the founder and CEO of a Canadian ethical clothing brand based in Vancouver called Free Label. Chloe Edwards represented a student voice on the panel, as she is an undergraduate student at Queen’s and the co-founder and President of Queen’s for Sustainable Fashion. Zuhal Kuvan-Mills is the founder and organizer of Eco Fashion Week Australia and the artist for Green Embassy, an Australian clothing brand which centers its design and production around sustainability.
In January 2022, we hosted another speaker panel event, called Sustainability Across the Sectors, where we explored how sustainability can be integrated into a range of careers. Akua Yamoah Opoku was one of our wonderful speakers. Akua is a sustainability advocate who lives a low-waste and minimalist lifestyle. She recently launched a business finder on her website where users can easily source BIPOC-owned sustainable businesses. Dr. Warren Mabee is a professor at Queen’s, with research and teaching focus on renewable energy, environmental policy, and policy and technology related to the environment and energy. Daniel Liao is the Dean of Applied Science, Technology and Trades at St. Lawrence College with a history in chemical engineering, the biotechnology and biofuels, and instrumental to the “Reinvent the Toilet Challenge” which will provide toilets to 2.5 billion disadvantaged peoples around the world. Lastly, Cedric Pepelea provided the perspective of sustainability within the political world as he serves as the former COO and current Energy Services Manager at Sustainable Kingston.
To finish off the 2021/22 academic year, we hosted a one-day virtual conference which included three speaker panels. The first panel was about sustainable investing, and our speakers were Andrew Vasila from MacKenzie Investments and Jessica Youwe from NEI Invesments/Aviso Wealth. Our second panel focused on sustainable entrepreneurship and speakers included Kevin
Stelzer from ENFORM Architects and David Luba from TenTree. Our last panel was about environmental law and policy, with speakers Aleka Farha and Tim Guinee from the Climate Reality Project and Sarah Powell, an environmental lawyer at Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg.