If you’re a member of the Capilano U community, you’ve probably heard of EarthWorks, a free public lecture, film and fieldtrip series hosted by Capilano U that helps people understand complex environmental issues from a multidisciplinary perspective.

The EarthWorks team is made up of Capilano U students, faculty and employees—all sustainability advocates who are passionate about positively influencing campus life and experiences.

This year, the EarthWorks team embraced five student organizers—Crysta Perak, Biljana Radovic, Lisa Hanania, Emma Courtney and Jackson Buscher—who are working on sustainability initiatives on campus. Working together under the umbrella of CapU Works, these students seek to engage the community both on and off campus, networking with environmental organizations, arts-based organizations, performance artists, policy makers, leaders and experts in sustainable changemaking.

Throughout the semester, this group will work hard to enrich the EarthWorks series, as well as deliver other news and events that educate and inspire.

Meet the CapU Works organizers:

Crysta Perak – Garden PatchWorks Student Organizer


In collaboration with Projects in Place, Capilano University opened its first ever community garden in April of 2013. Located at the north end of the North Vancouver campus, the garden provides a site for shared experience among students from different programs and a place for everyone in our community to connect. Features include a traditional First Nations garden, a ‘learning garden’ for the youngsters in the Children’s Centre, a produce stand to share our harvest, and communal areas for teaching and play. The community garden also includes an outdoor classroom for use by any instructor (email sustainability@capilanou.ca if you would like to book space). Crysta helps to organize workshops, invasive species and weed pulls, and make sure things are running smoothly in the garden for students, staff, faculty and community members who hold plots. She is also planning the Ode to Spring this March, so stay tuned!

Lisa Hanania – FoodWorks Student Organizer


Since April 2012, Capilano U students have been identifying opportunities for food systems change, as part of the National Campus Food Systems Project. In 2013, our former student Tiaré supported students to bring local and seasonal food to campus events and community garden workshops. Five key food values are also being crafted to capture key concerns of campus community members:

  • Nourishment and sustenance
  • Community engagement and evidence-based decision-making
  • Effective resource management
  • Connection to the regional food resources and ecosystem
  • Learn and make evidence based decisions

Lisa (an international student from the US) is working on our next Farmer’s Market, which is scheduled for late March, in addition to helping the team at EarthWorks lectures! 

Biljana Radovic – PowerWorks Student Organizer


Through funding provided by BC Hydro’s Workplace Conservation Awareness program, Biljana (an international student from Serbia) is our PowerWorks student. Her goal is to embed energy conservation into the curriculum in order to help students become energy conservation ambassadors, as well as engage staff members on behaviour change initiatives. She ran the very successful Your Powerful Shot campaign in November 2014, and is currently working on the Building Challenge with BADM 218. Biljana also wants you to know: TVs, DVD players, computers, printers, radios and many other electronics use energy even when they aren’t turned on. Unplug these items when you’re not using them and enjoy the energy savings!   

Emma Courtney and Jackson Buscher – EarthWorks Student Organizers


These students help plan EarthWorks events each semester, which take the form of lunchtime discussion sessions, student training/workshops, sustainability socials, potlucks or film screenings. Emma and Jackson liaise on behalf of the EarthWorks team with Capilano Students’ Union Environmental Issues committee and other sustainability groups to connect EarthWorks themes with opportunities for engagement/action. They also help secure guest speakers, facilitators or activity leaders and recruit student volunteers to poster, use social media, set up, take pictures, film and attend events. This spring, Emma and Jackson were a big help with our waste audit, where they showcased half a day’s worth of coffee cups that were incorrectly thrown into the landfill bin. Where should they go instead? The Containers bin (blue in the zero waste stations) for recycling, of course!


Marina Van Driel – Sustainability Assistant

Marina-EarthWorks-200Since joining the Facilities Department in November 2013, Marina has been working with and coaching the Student Organizers, embedding Sustainability into the curriculum, implementing the zero waste stations and Workplace Conservation and Awareness campaigns, and tracking and reporting on CapU’s utilities usage. In addition, she works closely with the EarthWorks instructors on their public lecture and film series, promotes events and projects via blog postings and social media, sends out monthly email newsletters, and helps maintain the CapU community garden plot listings. Both a CapU and SFU (Geog. with Environmental Specialty) alumni, she is passionate about all things Sustainability! 


Susan Doig, Director, Facilities

Susan-EarthWorks-200Susan joined Capilano University in 2006 as purchasing manager with a mandate to spend 25 per cent of her time implementing sustainability on campus. This experience also greatly informed her MBA thesis, which later became embedded in Capilano University’s Sustainability Policy. Susan’s special focus on sustainable operations soon landed her the BC Hydro-sponsored role of energy manager. In 2011 she moved into the Facilities manager role, and in 2013 she inherited the title of director of Facilities. Read more about our sustainability champion here!

Submitted by Marina Van Driel, Sustainability Assistant, Facilities Department

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