My first steps as the head of sustainable development at McGill

The Sandbox

IMG_1177It’s been nearly two months since I joined the McGill community as Sustainability Manager. Previously, I worked for 12 years for the City of Montreal in the field of sustainable development, including the last four as team leader. In a few words, here’s my experience of introduction to the McGill world.

The first day

March 30, 2015 is a special day for me. For several years, I went to work using the same transit circuit. This morning, it’s different. As I rush into the metro rather than continuing on my usual bus ride, I fully appreciate the changes ahead. A new organization to understand, a new team to lead, new people to know, etc. As I enter the office, the team members give me a warm and sincere welcome. I look forward to harnessing that energy to better position McGill on sustainability issues.

The first week

During the first week, I focus on understanding the organizational structure, the history of sustainable development at McGill, and the mandates under the responsibility of the Office of Sustainability (MOOS). I see many similarities with the files I used to be responsible for, although the organization is different. I am fascinated by the richness of the content and the progress that has been made in sustainability in such a short time. I also notice that my vision of sustainability based on the development of partnership fits well with the approach that has been put forward.

The first week concludes with a milestone: I host the Catalyst Awards, a ceremony which recognizes projects and individuals who have distinguished themselves in sustainable development over the past year. That’s when I perceive more clearly the richness and strength of the sustainability movement at McGill.

The first month

Only after a month in my new job can I fully appreciate the quality of the work that has been done by MOOS to establish a real culture of sustainability at McGill. From meeting to meeting, I note that McGill is filled with people passionate about sustainability and eager to integrate it into their own activities (procurement, building management, applied research, etc.). I also understand better the contagious energy that comes from contact with students. It’s unique. I am determined to solidify the partnerships MOOS has within the McGill community and externally, to bring this movement even further.

For MOOS, the coming months will be very busy despite the summer period. In particular, we’ll be working on a mid-term progress report for Vision 2020, which will give us a clearer idea of ​​the progress made so far and what remains to be done to implement the 2014-2016 action plan.

Finally, I personally invite anyone who wishes to get involved with MOOS to contact me (francois.miller@mcgill.ca). Have a great summer!

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