Sustainable Futures Festival: Program

McGill’s Bicentennial milestone is a significant occasion to highlight the importance of collaboration and innovation in sustainability, locally and beyond. From September 12 to 16, 2022, McGill University will be hosting the Sustainable Futures Festival, a week-long series of events that invites the McGill community, as well as partners and guests, to envision a collective future.




Monday, September 12

Tree Giving Initiative

Hosted by: Bicentennial Office
Time: Throughout the day
Location: Across Greater Montreal


On Monday, September 12, to welcome the new school year, elementary and high schools across Montreal and neighbouring cities will plant a tree (or two). This synchronous event will launch McGill’s Sustainable Futures Festival, providing a space for local community partners to come together and envision our collective future. 

As part of a week-long Sustainable Futures Festival, McGill is giving away free plum trees to Montreal schools to build an interest in trees and plants, to learn about photosynthesis and other processes, and benefits to the environment. This is an opportunity for schools to launch their new year in a positive light with new growth and to engage their students in learning and caring for their trees. 


Bellairs Research Institute Open Day and Plant Giveaway

Hosted by: Bellairs Research Institute
Time: Throughout the day
Location: Folkestone, St. James, Barbados


The Bellairs Research Institute of McGill University, located in Barbados, opens its doors to the public, inviting the Barbados community to discover what this unique teaching and research facility has to offer. The Institute will be giving palm trees, grown on site, to Barbados schools, with some being paired with Montreal elementary schools participating in the parallel McGill tree giving initiative. The open house will feature presentations on all things sustainable, other free giveaways and hands-on activities for attendees.

This event provides the opportunity for Bellairs to challenge the community in which it exists to live sustainably and for young children to get involved with their future by planting trees, learning about the role plants play in the environment and in providing food security.


Gault Nature Reserve Open Day and Plant Giveaway

Hosted by: Gault Nature Reserve
Time: 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Location: Gault Nature Reserve, 422 chemin des Moulins, Mont-Saint-Hilaire (QC), J3G 4S6


The Gault Nature Reserve of McGill University, located in Mont-Saint-Hilaire, is a living laboratory that protects more than 1,000 hectares of natural forest. On September 12th, Gault invites its community members to discover the science that takes place in this unique setting by touring its innovative research facilities and meeting the scientists who are using them to advance our understanding of the Earth’s future.

As part of the event, the Gault Nature Reserve will also distribute milkweed plants on site to encourage community members to bring sustainability home and invest in their future.


Sustainability in Teaching at Desautels

Hosted by: Desautels Faculty of Management
Time: 1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Location: Bronfman Building (1001 Sherbrooke Street West), Room 301 (Faculty Lounge)

Have you ever wanted to incorporate sustainability into your teaching? Are you curious about what that could even look like? Join us for an in-person brown bag on September 12th from 1-2 pm that will cover exactly those questions! We will be joined by Jessica Latus, Sustainability Officer from McGill’s Office of Sustainability, and Professors Anna Kim and Brian Wenzel who are both involved in sustainability work at Desautels.

The brown bag will cover sustainability initiatives as they relate to teaching at McGill broadly and within our own Faculty. It will also provide concrete examples of what it means to incorporate sustainability into your teaching. We invite you to come with a course in mind that you may want to develop in a more sustainably-oriented way.


Bridging the gap between bench-level innovation and readiness for VC investment

Hosted by: MSSI
Time: 3:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Location: Faculty Club Ballroom, 3450 rue McTavish, Montreal, QC, H3A 0E5

LEARN MORE   Please note: Registration is now closed.

Learn about the commercialization of research and the process of bringing ideas to market during a panel discussion featuring innovation industry experts from Anges Québec, Cycle Capital, Sustainable Development Technology Canada, and the McGill Office of Innovation and Partnerships. Hosted by the McGill Sustainability Systems Initiative (MSSI) and its CleanTech research theme, the panel discussion will be followed by a student poster presentations and a reception.


  • Catherine Bérubé, CEO of Cycle Central and Vice-President of Sustainable Development, Investor Relations and Public Affairs at Cycle Capital and Cycle Momentum.
  • Benoit Boulet, Associate Vice-Principal of Innovation & Partnerships at McGill and Director of the McGill Engine Centre for Technological Innovation and Entrepreneurship.
  • Adriana Mendez, Investment Lead at Sustainable Development Technology Canada.
  • Caroline Pelletier, Vice-President of Investment and Screening at Anges Québec.

Moderated by:

  • Mark Weber, Director of Innovation & Partnerships at McGill.



Tuesday, September 13

The Community Plant Giveaway: Macdonald Campus

Hosted by: Bicentennial Office
Time: 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Location: Picnic area across Macdonald-Stewart building, Macdonald campus


Back by popular demand! In fall 2021, the Bicentennial Office hosted the first community plant giveaway, gifting 6,000 plants to students, staff, faculty, alumni, and Montrealers.

On Tuesday, September 13, in collaboration with McGill’s Office of Sustainability, the Bicentennial Office is once again gifting potted plants, grown on the Macdonald campus farm, to the McGill community.


Sustainable Foods Workshop

Hosted by: McGill Sustainability Research Symposium and MealCare McGill
Time: 5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Location: Building21


Attendees will be joined by Santropol Roulant and StillGood, two groups from Montreal. Get to know what is currently done in the city to reduce food waste! And a sustainable foods workshop would not be a true foods workshop without free food samples! This event is meant to be a casual way of talking about food waste and alternatives currently made possible in the city. Registration is mandatory, so reserve your spot.


Confronting Climate Change with Design for Resilience

Hosted by: TISED
Time: 6:30 p.m.
Location: Online


On September 13, 2022, at 6:30pm the Trottier Institute for Sustainability in Engineering and Design (TISED) will be hosting the 9th Annual Trottier Symposium on Sustainable Engineering, Energy, and Design. This year’s theme is Confronting Climate Change with Design for Resilience,” and our speakers will be Henk Ovink and Marinna Tabassum. The focus of the symposium will be surrounding recent achievements in climate change resilience and current practices and design approaches. We will explore the industry’s future and how urban planners, architects, and engineers can incorporate nature-based solutions into designs to ensure resiliency in our fight against climate change. A Q&A will follow the presentations; the event is free and open to the public.


CANCELLED: Sustainability in the stewardship of McGill’s physical infrastructure at Macdonald Campus



Wednesday, September 14

Sustainable Futures Career Fair

Hosted by: Bicentennial Office
Time: 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Location: Centre Mont-Royal


As a part of Sustainable Futures Festival, the Career Fair is your opportunity to network with professionals in the field of sustainability, and to connect with companies that align with your values. Come gather information, learn about opportunities and career paths, and distribute your CV. This is an event for companies to discover McGill’s driven students, and to share the steps they are taking in creating a more sustainable future.


Sustainability in the stewardship of McGill’s physical infrastructure: Downtown campus

Hosted by: Facilities Management and Ancillary Services
Time: 12:15 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Location: Downtown Campus, at the Leacock amphitheatre (west of Leacock Building, corner of McTavish Street and Doctor-Penfield Avenue)


Find out the many ways Facilities Management and Ancillary Services (FMAS) integrate sustainable practices in the stewardship of McGill’s physical infrastructure and in other services. Facilities Management and Ancillary Services looks after the maintenance, operations, construction and upgrade of over 200 buildings across McGill campuses. From our waste management and energy efficiency strategies to the environmental and wellbeing criteria we integrate into our construction projects and the planning of our campuses, learn about the many key actions we are implementing to create a sustainable future for McGill and its community.

Speaker: Philippe St-Jean, Senior Sustainable Construction Officer, Design Services (Facilities Management and Ancillary Services)

  • As Senior Sustainable Construction Officer at McGill, Philippe is responsible for implementing strategies aimed at reducing the environmental impact of McGill’s construction projects. He has worked in the construction industry for more than 20 years, as foreman, project manager, construction manager, trainer, and consultant. Philippe is an accredited LEED PA, WELL PA and Passivhaus consultant.


Panel on Socio-ecological Transition in Healthcare (Livestream)

Hosted by: International Masters for Health Leadership
Time: 3:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Location: Bronfman Building, 1001 Sherbrooke St W, Montreal, Quebec H3A 1G5. Room 645.

Join our International Masters for Health Leadership program for a lively panel discussion on socio-ecological transition in healthcare, moderated by Prof. Dror Etzion, Associate Professor of Strategy and Organization at the Desautels Faculty of Management, and an associate member of the Bieler School of Environment. Physical seats are limited; however, the event will be livestreamed for all to enjoy.


  • Jérôme Ribesse is Deputy Director and Environmental Health Advisor at Synergie Santé Environnement.
  • Jill Baumgartner is an Associate Professor at the Faculty of Medicine at McGill, and also affiliated with Drawdown Lift.  Her research focuses on environmental pollutants and their affect on human health in the context of urbanization and development.
  • Stephan Williams is a practicing anesthesiologist and also medical co-manager of carbon neutrality at the CHUM as well as Clinical Assistant Professor at UdeM.


Sustainability Soirée

Co-hosted by: MSSI and MOOS
Time: 4:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Location: Thomson House Ballroom, 3650 rue McTavish, Montreal, QC, H3A 1Y2


Explore sustainability-related research, initiatives, and student groups at McGill during the Sustainability Soirée on Wednesday, September 14, 2022, from 4:00 P.M. to 7:00 P.M. in the Thomson House Ballroom. This evening of food, drinks, knowledge-sharing, and networking aims to create a more open, connected, and sustainable university. Meet with project teams who have received support from the Sustainability Projects Fund (SPF), as well as student and faculty researchers funded by the McGill Sustainability Systems Initiative (MSSI).



Thursday, September 15

Plant Giveaway for Montrealers!

Hosted by: Bicentennial Office
Time: 12:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Location: L’esplanade Tranquille, Quartier des spectacles


The Bicentennial is an opportunity to reflect on the past, but also to look to the future – and sustainability is at the heart of that reflection. As we navigate a new normal, we want to take a moment to reconnect safely with each other on campus & in our surrounding communities. Let’s take this week to celebrate the 200 years of connections & positive impacts that McGillians have made across Montreal, Quebec, Canada and the world.

To mark this milestone and its roots in the heart of Montreal, nearly 1,500 plants grown at the University’s Macdonald campus farm will be distributed to downtown workers and visitors.

2022 Catalyst Awards Gala

Hosted by: MOOS
Time: 5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
Location: McCord Museum, 690 Sherbrooke St. W, Montreal, QC, H3A 1E9


Celebrate outstanding contributions to sustainability at McGill at the 2022 Catalyst Awards Gala, hosted by the McGill Office of Sustainability, as we gather over food and drinks to toast the McGillians who have made our University a more sustainable place to work and study.


CANCELLED: A Conversation About Cross-Disciplinary Collaborations



Friday, September 16

The Community Plant Giveaway: Downtown campus

Hosted by: Bicentennial Office
Time: 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Location: Y-Intersection on the Downtown Campus


Back by popular demand! In fall 2021, the Bicentennial Office hosted the first community plant giveaway, gifting 6,000 plants to students, staff, faculty, alumni, and Montrealers.

On Friday, September 16, in collaboration with McGill’s Office of Sustainability, the Bicentennial Office is once again gifting thousands of potted plants, grown on the Macdonald campus farm, to the McGill and Montreal community.


Living Your Values: Turning a Commitment to Sustainability into a Successful Career

Co-hosted by: The Laidley Centre for Business Ethics, anchored at the Desautels Faculty of Management
Time: 10:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Location: Bronfman Building, 1001 Sherbrooke St W, Montreal, Quebec H3A 1G5. Room 360 and 151.


Do you want your passion for social and economic sustainability reflected in your professional life? This day-long event will allow you to get inspired, mentored and connected to others who want to turn their commitment to sustainability into a successful career.

The morning panel will feature a discussion with recent McGill alums working in sustainability. In the early afternoon panel, Integrated Management Fellows will talk about their Social Impact projects. In the closing plenary, business leaders working in the field will share their insights and career advice. Attendees are not obligated to attend all three panels; please indicate which panels you would like to attend when filling out your registration.


Movie Night

Hosted by: Bicentennial Office
Time: 6:30 p.m.
Location: McConnell Engineering Building, room 204


Gather your friends and join us for a movie night, featuring the award-winning documentary, Tomorrow. By filmmakers Cyril Dion and Mélanie Laurent, “Developed with an approach and dramatic treatment more common to works of fiction, these documentaries have sought to make a critical message accessible to the broadest audience possible. Their filmmakers travel to the four corners of the earth to film and document the devastating consequences of climate change on the planet, giving us alarming films to remind us that we’re going in the wrong direction. In Tomorrow, Cyril Dion, environmental activist, and Mélanie Laurent, actress and director, seek out the men and women who are fighting to preserve our humanity. Far from a moralizing discourse, the filmmakers instead adopt a light and educational tone to propose solutions that could offer real help to our planet and its inhabitants.”



Volunteers     GET INVOLVED 

We’re looking for volunteers to join us from September 12th to 16th for the Festival! If you’re interested in sustainability or want to get involved on campus, this is an exciting opportunity!

Volunteers will receive lunch on all days they volunteer, a t-shirt, a water bottle (while supplies last), and guaranteed access to a plant. Both students and staff are welcome to sign up.

Please note that shift information will be provided the week prior.

Should you have any questions, please reach out to We hope to see you soon!



About the McGill Sustainability Systems Initiative

Shifting to a more sustainable future requires taking a multi-faceted, systems-level approach to some of the world’s knottiest problems. The McGill Sustainability Systems Initiative (MSSI) seeks to mobilize McGill researchers around sustainability challenges and equip the next generation with the skills needed to address these issues. In its novel approach, the MSSI provides opportunities for researchers from very different disciplines to interact and co-design projects that address complex problems from a variety of perspectives. The outcome is a robust and vibrant community of committed sustainability researchers.

About McGill’s Office of Sustainability

The McGill Office of Sustainability (MOOS) provides the strategic guidance, support, and resources to transition McGill into an institutional model of sustainability for society. In partnership with students, staff, and faculty, MOOS advances McGill’s vision for sustainable research, education, connectivity, operations, and governance. It’s not just green, and it’s not just about its operations. The three dimensions of sustainability—social, economic, and environmental—are embedded in its approach. Sustainability involves recognizing the interdependence and complexity of systems. In many cases, moving toward a sustainable future will involve building connections and breaking down boundaries.

About Trottier Symposium on Sustainable Engineering, Energy and Design

Each year the Trottier Institute for Sustainability in Engineering and Design (TISED) at McGill University and the Institut de l’énergie Trottier (IET) at Polytechnique Montréal take turns hosting this event. Made possible through the generous support of Dr. Lorne Trottier, this is a forum for students, professors, government, and industry professionals to connect with the general public on advancements for sustainability through engineering and design. This series has been made possible by the generous gift from the Trottier Family Foundation.

Sustainability at Desautels

McGill’s Desautels Faculty of Management is committed to responsible management education and supporting sustainable development both locally and globally. The McGill University Climate & Sustainability Strategy 2020-2025 includes three bold objectives that Desautels can play a role in supporting: achieving carbon neutrality by 2040, becoming zero-waste by 2035, and receiving a platinum sustainability rating by 2030. Developing a respectful, diverse, and inclusive culture is key to ensuring that everyone who passes through our doors feels safe, welcome, valued, and heard.