Students On Sustainability


Students on Sustainability has a new website. Please visit for information on classroom bookings and volunteering opportunities


ACEE dedicates staff time and education expertise to support Students on Sustainability, a University of Calgary student society that educates grade school students on sustainability topics linked to climate change and supports relevant student projects. ACEE and Students on Sustainability (SOS) engage with students across all grade levels within the Calgary Board of Education and Calgary Separate School District.

The goal of this project is to incorporate relevant topics into classroom curriculum (renewable energy, climate change, energy conservation, engineering, modeling, systems thinking, food security and more) to encourage students to act now to take positive action - and to better understand how sustainability can be part of their future careers. We offer formal classroom talks, small group exercises or discussions, interactive learning, and public event engagement. Presentations support teachers to deliver their curriculum. 

University volunteers receive training on classroom education techniques, certificates honoring their volunteer hours, and the opportunity to meet sustainability professionals at our culminating networking event and celebration. 

Scroll down for information about our in-class presentations, including content and curriculum alignment. We are no longer taking requests for the Spring 2018 semester, but we are happy to respond to your inquiries for the Fall of 2018. 


January 12th, 2018 Information Session and Workshop

On January 12th, 2018, we hosted our first information session and workshop, sharing our program with Calgary undergraduate and graduate students. The 37 attendees were inspired by guest speakers from the sustainability industry, met and collaborated with industry professionals, and participated in a workshop on excellent environmental education. 23 passionate and dedicated students signed up on the spot to volunteer with us this semester.


Information for Teachers


Who we are:

Students On Sustainability recruits, trains and coordinates undergraduate and graduate level university students to volunteer to present sustainability topics in Calgary classrooms. Our volunteers are passionate, experts in their fields, and we enable them to deliver exciting and relatable content to grade school audiences. 

Why are we doing this?

Our 2017 survey of 221 Alberta teachers tells us that teaching about sustainability topics, particularly climate change, is a difficult area for teachers. One of our primary findings from this
'needs assessment' is that teachers highly value community experts in their classrooms, which we will provide through this program. Teachers have told us there is a very significant – and regrettable! – deficit in teachers’ current understanding of sustainability and climate concepts. This is driven in part by an outdated curriculum - for example, the elementary science curriculum is 18 years old!

This program will help close the gap between this deficit and students' current learning needs. By connecting topics to the local environmental issues, we connect notions of sustainability and climate change to students’ local realities.

What do we offer?

Volunteers will deliver the following:

Inspirational content, sharing their own stories, interests and personal motivations with the students.
A short and current science lesson aligned with Alberta curriculum.
A hands-on activity to inspire and engage students in sustainable action.
We work students through a call-to-action to bring environmental action into their own lives.
Some topics offer a follow-up visit to build upon lessons learned and follow up on the students' environmental actions taken.

All content is aligned with the current curriculum. Please see our presentation topics for more information.

When is this available?

Booking opened on January 26, 2018. Participating teachers will then have the months of February and March to receive a series of two presentations in their classrooms. Teachers will be able to work one-on-one with their assigned volunteer to determine the ideal times for their classroom visits. Presentations ended in April 2018, and booking will re-open in the Fall 2018 semester.

How to book:

Check back for booking availability in September 2018, or email for general inquiries.

Expectations for teachers:

We ask that teachers participate in holding their students accountable to their "call to action" following our visit.
Volunteers are a guest of the teacher. It is expected that the teacher stays in the classroom, manages their students, and participates in the presentation.


Presentation Topics


Solar Energy Grade 5 Science Topics A,B,C,D: Electricity and Magnetism, Mechanisms Using Electricity, Weather Watch.Students will understand solar energy as a renewable resource and how it serves in international communities. Students will be given the chance to assemble a solar circuit to build on what they learn.Energy For All

Water Sanitation

Grade 8 

Science Topic E: Fresh and Saltwater Systems.

Students will learn about the Alberta watershed. They will learn and practice a water treatment technique and learn about water management issues internationally.Energy For All
Grade 10Unit D: Energy flow in Global systems.
Biology 20 Unit B: Ecosystems and Population Change.
Ecosystem Conservation


Science 10

Unit D: Energy Flow in Global SystemsStudents will explore the impacts of a changing climate on Alberta's ecosystems and will learn the value of protected areas and parks.Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society
Biology 20Unit B: Ecosystems and Population Change
Biology 30Unit D: Population and Community Dynamics.
Energy Conservation

Grade 7     

Heat and Temperature; Structures and Forces.Students think about the nine renewable and non-renewable energy sources, and connect these energy sources to the operation of their homes and their school vis-à-vis heating, transportation, their appliances, devices, etc. They then brainstorm ways in which students can conserve nonrenewable resources to reduce their carbon footprint, and commit to taking action in their home and in their school to practice energy conservation.Alberta Council for Environmental Education 

Grade 2

Small crawling and flying animals.Students will examine organic waste as a valuable resource and will get the opportunity to engage in vermicomposting- an organic waste management technique using worms to create compost.Nature's Ride
Grade 4Waste and our world; Plant growth and changes.
Land Use and PlanningGrade 4Regions of Alberta and Natural ResourcesStudents will examine our changing physical landscape using GIS and remote sensing technology and will make connections to sustainability indicators. Students will gain insight on using best practices in industry and the impacts that might have on our changing climate.Alberta Tomorrow
Grade 5Wetlands and what land use affects them.
Grade 7Interactions and Ecosystems
Grade 9Social Studies - Issues for Canadians:
Economic Systems in Canada and the United States.


Students On Sustainability - Volunteers FAQ


How do I sign up?
Sign-ups for Winter 2018 are full, but for information for the September 2018 program, contact
Do I have to be a University of Calgary student to participate?
While the program originated at the University of Calgary, we encourage all undergraduate and master's students in Calgary to participate, regardless of which school they are attending. 

How much time are volunteers required to give? 
Volunteers are required to deliver two classroom presentations over a two-month period. Each presentation will be approximately an hour in length. It is also expected that volunteers will spend 2-3 hours of their time preparing for these presentations.

What does the training look like? 
Volunteers participate in a free workshop, during which attendees will learn how to deliver excellent education in the classroom. Volunteers will then be provided with a lesson plan which they will be expected to review and practice on their own time. Volunteers will then meet with their topic leaders to practice and ask any questions that they may have about the content of the lessons. 

How do we evaluate the impact of our program? 
Our goal is for each volunteer to inspire 25 - 30 students to take action for their environment. Following the winter semester, we will quantify the number of students who were reached and who took action. Teachers will also be asked to fill out a survey following the Students On Sustainability program delivery to their classroom.
What are the timelines for the SOS spring session?
January 12th, 2018: Information session and workshop.
February 1 - March 29, 2018: Classroom presentations to be delivered.
March 29, 2018: Sustainability industry networking event. 

Does any money exchange hands? 
No. Currently, program expenses are being covered by the Alberta Council for Environmental Education as well as several grants from the University of Calgary. Classroom presentations are delivered for free and there will be no transactions involved.

Do I have to pay my own travel expenses?
You do not have to pay for your travel expenses. We believe that transportation should not be a barrier to your participation in this organization, so travel expenses to and from your school presentations will be covered.
I am too busy to participate this semester, but I am still interested in Students On Sustainability. Can I sign up to participate next year?
We encourage anyone interested in our program to get in touch. We can sign you up to volunteer in the Fall 2018 semester, or even find alternative ways for you to help out. Contact if you would like to get involved with Students On Sustainability within any capacity. 
Can I donate to this organization?
We appreciate donations of any size, which will help contribute to the continuation and expansion of this program. Visit our donation page to make a contribution.


Follow Students on Sustainability on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram