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Before entering the HBA program, I doubled-majored in Sociology and Criminology. Since Sociology assesses society as a whole and addresses issues commonly face, these subjects opened my eyes to the impact society can have on the environment and how our generation has the power to enact meaningful change. This prompted the beginning of my journey involving sustainability and has helped shaped my interests for my professional career. I hope to become a lawyer that works with non-profits and prioritizes sustainable initiatives. As an aspiring academic, my personal areas of interest include mental health advocacy, non-profit organizations, writing, and social justice.

What is your personal definition of sustainability?

My personal definition of sustainability is continuously evolving with the co-dependent relationship of society and the environment. Society relies on the environment to survive, and accordingly the environment must be taken care of in the proper manner. Sustainability efforts are therefore aimed to create the perfect balance between the pressures that have been created on the environment and the perseveration efforts that society aims for. Overall, sustainability aims to strive toward the greater good by ensuring a balance between society’s use of resources and the number of resources that can be used without having a detrimental impact to the environment.

What role do you see sustainability playing in your professional career?

I believe as society continues to evolve; sustainability will become an essential part of any professional career. Sustainability is how our society will be able to move forward and it is necessary to have these considerations prioritized in any industry/field. As a future business professional, I plan to make sustainability a core facet of my career. Although my career aspirations are law related, I plan to work in a non-profit organization. Consideration of sustainability for a non-profit organization is integral to the core activities of the business. I also want to innovate the sector to include sustainable considerations. As I evaluate the industry right now, I see so many opportunities for law firms to partake in to help contribute to the betterment of the environment and society such as implementing Net Zero strategies and committing to ambitious climate targets. Sustainability thrives based on the impact it makes-one small action/change can translate into extreme benefits overall.

What sustainability projects have you been engaged in?

In my first year at Western, I participated in Impact Experience, which was a 6-month experience, with a one-week intensive volunteer experience on Food Security. This project was intertwined with the UN Sustainability Development Goals. It intersected with Goal 10 & 11–reducing inequalities and sustainable cities and communities. Our main goal was to combat social isolation and build communities across the London area. We were able to recognize the possibilities and limitations of our team when we worked with these organizations and recognized and describe specific social issues in London, as well as the policies that come along with that. Our purpose was to help these organizations reduce the social isolation that various groups felt within these organizations.

This past summer, I was a Student Associate at the Center for Building Sustainable Value at Ivey. From interacting with alumni who’s careers are based in sustainability to completing research on net zero initiatives, this experience strengthened my passion towards working to serve the greater good. It taught me that there are so many different ways to incorporate sustainable initiatives and the time to enact these plans is now. Businesses need to shift their strategies to encompass critical issues surrounding sustainability, and have a outlook that balances purpose and profit. I hope that the Sustainability Certificate program will allow me to continue to learn more about how businesses navigate implementing sustainability within a company and how I can contribute to these changes.

Rebecca Zuker

Rebecca  Zuker

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