This Year's Ceremony

Matthew Webb

Four summers spent planting trees and a fascination with wind turbines sparked Matthew Webb’s enrolment in Mount Royal’s Bachelor of Applied Science — Environmental Sciences program.

As a student Webb not only managed an exceptional academic record but also served as both vice-president and then president of Sustainable MRU, a student-run environmental group.Matthew Webb

“Sustainable MRU had an event every month, which we tried to make fun and add an educational component to get people interested in energy use, waste, how the campus is moving in terms of sustainability and what you can do in your own life,” says Webb.

“I really learned a lot about leadership and the environment.”

Fellow student and current president of Sustainable MRU, Christine MacDonald, says Webb’s charisma and positive outlook will carry him far.

“He’s a lot of fun but he’s still really good at keeping people on track and keeping everybody motivated,” MacDonald says. “He’s also a really independent thinker.”

Green learning

The chief initiative Webb spearheaded during his time at Mount Royal was a sustainability survey for Mount Royal’s Sustainable Multi-stakeholder Committee in 2008.

“It was quite the experience,” Webb says.

“None of us had done anything in policy or surveying.”

The survey’s intent was to gather information on existing Mount Royal sustainability initiatives as well as connect different areas of the University. The results were presented to the Sustainability Committee in late February.

“The response was very positive,” says Webb. “We had over 500 responses and everyone was very excited that a student initiative like this gathered so much information.”

Real world experience

In the classroom, Webb was pleased with his program choice, which provided him with a great grounding in sciences and applied work, including two paid work terms — one as an environmental coordinator and one as a lab technician on an oil sands site near Fort McMurray.

Ultimately he had to turn down a contract extension.

“That was one of the hardest jobs to reconcile with my personal values.”

Webb hopes to stay in Calgary and work in the nonprofit arena. But no matter where he ends up, it’s obvious that this student’s quiet determination, leadership and passion mean his future looks very bright.

– Rhonda Greenaway