My name is Connor McLennan and I am currently an Ivey HBA Student hoping to pursue a dual degree with Civil Engineering. I am a focused and driven individual that has always wanted to make meaningful impact in the world and in my career. In engineering courses last year, I was educated on the impact we, as humans, have had on the environment and I am hoping I can use my unique graduating skill set to develop sustainable methods of urbanization. In addition, I spend much of my free time outside as an avid traveler, skier, hiker, and runner.
What is your personal definition of sustainability?
While sustainability can mean a variety of things depending on the person, my personal definition is its alignment to the environment. For me, environmental sustainability is the ability for humans to have a net zero effect on the long-term prosperity of the environment. With climate change being the largest issue of our generation, people are often under the misconception that humans must recluse to pre industrialized days to counter this challenge. However, I believe that this issue can challenge humanity to push forward, past the dependence on the natures supplies, and develop a society that works alongside the natural world.
What role do you see sustainability playing in your professional career?
Hoping to pursue a dual degree with civil engineering, I believe the sustainability certificate can help me develop my values and make decisions throughout my career. Last year, I attended a talk hosted by one of the engineers of the Amit Chakma Engineering building where I was inspired to do similar work. The company he worked with focuses on building LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) buildings that reduce the impact urbanization has on the natural environment. It was an area I didn’t really know much about but aligned with my goals of 1. Doing tangible projects 2. Having Impact 3. My Impact being positive to society. I am keenly interested in learning more about sustainable areas of building and see myself becoming involved in the development of sustainable urban centers. I believe with the growing focus on environmental sustainability this will become a very important industry (while I think it already is, it is not recognized as such). By taking the sustainability certificate I can gain new perspectives from my peers that would prepare me well to enter the work force and have this impact.
What sustainability projects have you been engaged in?
Considering this is an area I’ve recently gained interest in; I have not partaken in many sustainability projects thus far. However, a few years ago my dad and I designed the rebuilding of our small family cabin where many factors were considered regarding the impact the structure would have on its surroundings. We chose solar panels to supply electricity to the cabin so it would not be connected to “the grid” and we also put great focus on window placement to maximize the natural light that could supply the cabin. Additionally, the cabins roof collected rainwater which supplied the kitchen tap and outdoor shower. This water then drained back into the environment and reduced our impact to natural sources, but also made us more cognizant of our water usage since we had a smaller supply. Lastly, we built bat houses for the ecosystems bat population that had previously been living in our roof. I remember learning from this experience that building have tremendous impact on the environment around them. With this impact extrapolated to entire cities, the environmental damage is very significant.