Fall 2016

Embark Sustainability Society


Embark Sustainability Society, formerly “Sustainable SFU”, is the non-profit sustainability society based at Simon Fraser University. Undergraduate students passed a referendum in 2010 to become members of Embark and contribute $2 (full-time students) and $1 (part-time students) per semester to the society.

Since 2010, Embark has represented and advanced students’ sustainability interests at SFU. All enrolled students are members of Embark, and all students are encouraged to provide feedback so that the society can best represent student sustainability interests on campus. Please visit Embark’s website at http://www.embarksustainability.org/ to learn more about the programs that the society offers. See the picture below for some of Embark’s notable achievements.


Unfortunately, the referendum that was passed in 2010 did not account for rising costs over time related to inflation and program expansion. As a result, despite Embark’s demonstrable value to the student body and growing list of achievements, the society is faced with an on-going lack of sufficient revenue. The organization has assessed its budget and is confident that it’s unable to make any more efficiency gains; as a result, future years will result in limited programming and grants unless the society is able to increase member fees.

Our Ask

For these reasons, Embark is asking for a one-time levy increase of $1.50 for full-time students and $0.75 for part-time students, resulting in a per-semester levy of $3.50 for full-time students and $1.75 for part-time students. If this referendum were to pass, Embark’s annual revenues would increase by approximately $110,000.

Why Vote in Favour?

If the referendum passes, Embark would be able to offer students:

  • Expanded programming and advocacy efforts at the Surrey and Vancouver campuses
  • Increased number of sustainability grants. At present, Embark receives more applications for grants than it can fund.
  • More free trainings such as bike maintenance and direct action workshops
  • Additional free sustainability-focused events such as Sustainable Careers Nights, Community Kitchens, Bike to Work Week, Food Education Days, and more!
  • Increased advocacy efforts to ensure we continue to get students major wins such as the cycling commuter station and SFU’s Zero Waste Policy


In particular, Embark plans to allocate the additional funds as follows:


Amount Expenditure
$45,000 Expand programming and advocacy efforts at the Surrey and Vancouver campuses. This would include expanding the Food Rescue, climate campaign, and the Learning Garden programs.
$15,000 Restore programming and advocacy efforts that have received funding cuts due to losses from inflation to previously funded levels.
$25,000 Increase amount of funding available to students through our two grants, the Social Innovation Seed Fund and Community Grant, to meet student demand for financial support to pursue sustainability initiatives.
$25,000 Hire a Communications Coordinator. This role would be intended for a current or graduating SFU student and would allow us to enhance our advocacy efforts.


Further Information

If you have any questions or concerns about this referendum question, please do not hesitate to contact the campaign representative, Deven Azevedo, at dazevedo@sfu.ca.