Thinking Green Pays Off For Canadian Students: Announcing the Winners of the TD Go Green Challenge

Mar 16, 2011 | Corporate Member News

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Team from McGill University wins first place in 4th annual TD Go Green Challenge

Three groups of Canadian post-secondary students are leaving a green legacy on their campus for demonstrating they’re serious about environmental sustainability. TD Friends of the Environment Foundation (TD FEF) today announced the winners of the 4th annual TD Go Green Challenge, a national competition inviting Canadian post-secondary students to explore and offer solutions to sustainability issues. This year’s competition focused on sustainability and environmental stewardship on campus.

Sharing ideas ranging from paperless universities to an integrated energy and food greenhouse, 132 teams from 59 schools participated in this year’s TD Go Green Challenge. Top honours went to a team of students from McGill University, who will be awarded $20,000 and a paid 2011 summer internship with TD FEF for each student team member. TD FEF will also award $100,000 to McGill University for greening the campus. Second place went to a team from York University’s Glendon College, who will receive a $15,000 prize and a $15,000 grant to support on-campus tree-planting initiatives, and third place went to a team of students from the University of Victoria, who will receive a $10,000 prize and a $10,000 grant to support on-campus tree-planting initiatives.

“This year marks the fourth TD Go Green Challenge and I am still amazed by the innovative entries we receive,” says Mary Desjardins, Executive Director, TD Friends of the Environment Foundation.  “This year students submitted a video to showcase their very creative ideas addressing sustainability issues on campus. We commend all students for their efforts and encourage them to get involved in supporting the environment on campus and in their community.”

David Morris and Omer Dor from McGill University won first place for their project, Integrated Energy and Food Greenhouse (i-EFG). The issue outlined by the students involved Ferrier powerhouse, which provides heat and hot water to McGill University, and is the largest greenhouse gas emitter on campus. To remedy this, students proposed creating the Integrated Energy and Food Greenhouse (i-EFG), which would significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions by redirecting and transforming wasted energy from the Ferrier powerhouse to help produce local food and carbon-neutral biodiesel in the i-EFG. Year-round food crops would be grown on top of the Ferrier building and lipids turned into biodiesel to produce sustainable energy. The team’s faculty sponsor is Alejandro Rey. View their video:


“I want to thank the TD Friends of the Environment Foundation for their generous gift and the exciting opportunities the Go Green Challenge offers students. Congratulations to Mr. Morris and Mr. Dor, as well as Professor Rey, for this achievement and the creative and innovative thinking that made their project the winning submission,” said Prof. Heather Munroe-Blum, McGill’s Principal and Vice-Chancellor. “McGill is committed to being a leader in sustainable development and I am proud to say that original student-led projects have been at the forefront of our efforts to achieve the highest possible standards of environmental sustainability on our campuses.”

The other winning submissions are:

Second place: The Future of Our Forest: A Sustainability Vision for York University – York University

The challenge: Glendon Forest is in a state of degradation due to overuse. It is one of the few last wetlands home to globally rare amphibians in Toronto and is an essential part of the Don Valley corridor that connects it to habitats downstream.

The solution: Revitalize Glendon Forest through a four step process that could restore its role in ecological, educational and social vitality at York University.

Student members: Darnel Harris and Caitlin Langlois Greenham
Faculty sponsor: Jennifer Foster
View their video:

Third place: Aquaponics – Back to the Future – University of Victoria

The challenge: The University of Victoria is the largest water consumer on the island. Students wanted to find how they could reuse water in a sustainable fashion before it enters the greywater system.

The solution: Launch a pilot project in aquaponics, a combination of aquaculture and hydroponics, to grow fish and plants using a re-circulating water system that could nourish one another.  The pilot program would see if aquaponics (which uses 90% less water than other agricultural practices) is a viable agricultural solution to incorporate into the future of the University of Victoria. 

Student members: Carmen Smith and Maeva Gauthier
Faculty sponsor: Steven Cross
View their video:

More than 24,000 people also voted for their favourite video online, and a team from the University of Toronto is the the recipient of the $2,500 People’s Choice Award.

Members of the 4th annual TD FEF Go Green Challenge judging panel included: Steven Guilbeault, Deputy Executive Coordinator and Co-founder, Equiterre;  Sarah Harmer, singer/songwriter and environmentalist; Celesa Horvath, Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability consultant and blogger; David Labistour, CEO, Mountain Equipment Co-Op; Stuart MacDonald, Co-founder and social media aficionado, Mesh; and Gord Miller, Ontario’s Environmental Commissioner.  Teams were evaluated on how well they articulated the sustainability challenge facing their school, and the originality, uniqueness and practicality of their proposed solution.

For more information on the TD Go Green Challenge winners and the winning submissions, visit

About TD Friends of the Environment Foundation:

Since 1990, TD FEF has provided more than $54 million in funding to over 19,500 grassroots environment and wildlife projects across Canada. In 2010, TD FEF provided more than $3.5 million in support of 970 projects.  Thousands of donors give to TD FEF on a monthly basis and TD Bank Group contributes in excess of $1 million annually. TD also covers the management costs of running TD FEF, which guarantees 100 per cent of every dollar donated goes directly to funding environment and wildlife projects in the community where the donation was made. For more information on how to donate and get involved in your community, visit

For further information:

For further information or to arrange an interview please contact:

Megan Hooper
[email protected] 

Karen Williams/Laura Arlabosse-Stewart
Paradigm Public Relations
[email protected]/[email protected]

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