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Student Project Awarded $2,000 in Province-Wide Competition
April 4, 2007

Trent University students Caitlin Bragg, Julia Canning and Andrea Maitucci won $2,000 for their group project during the "Building a Sustainable Future" competition held by the Cement Association of Canada on April 3 in Toronto.

Developed as part of an assignment for their fourth-year course in Indigenous Studies and Environment and Resource Studies, their project presented a sustainable health, agricultural and economic model for a hypothetical Aboriginal community located on the banks of the Otonabee River in Peterborough.

"It was very exciting to be selected as a finalist for this award," said Julia Canning, who is completing her third year as a joint major in politics and environment and resource studies. "I really enjoyed the process of creating a 21st century community model founded on indigenous values in order to mitigate human impact on the environment."

Recognizing the interdependence of health, food production and economy, the three students demonstrated how a balance of traditional Aboriginal and non-traditional practices can create a viable sustainable community. For example, they showed that by combining hunting, fishing, and gathering activities with hemp and soya bean cultivation, the community’s dietary needs can be met and a healthier lifestyle is promoted. They also developed a model for an internal economy using a community-based currency and bartering system that functioned alongside conventional methods of economic exchange.

The winning projects proposed novel solutions to sustainability challenges; integrated technologies to enhance efficiencies; addressed key elements of sustainability features; and clearly identified sustainability goals.

More than 100 people attended the compeition , including local MPP and Ontario Minister of Revenue Michael Chan and Ontario Minister of Transportation Donna Cansfield. Minister Chan spoke to the students at the awards ceremony about the inspiring role they are playing in the quest to build a better future: "You have all worked very hard to further the vision of a sustainable future," he said.

The three students have chosen to donate their prize money to support the Curve Lake Reading Program.

Click here to see their winning Powerpoint presentation.