News & Insights

Global Questions In Sustainability: Spring 2023

Dillon Consulting recently teamed up with students in the Global Questions in Sustainability course from McMaster University. The collaboration was designed so that students from multiple facilities and academic perspectives could learn more about real-world, industry-based applications of sustainability principles. Reciprocally, Dillon was able to benefit from their academic perspectives on this timely and critical topic.

“The Global Questions in Sustainability course was created to give students the ability to challenge their thoughts on sustainability from multiple points of view. With this collaboration, the students have a unique opportunity to understand how the knowledge they acquire through sustainability courses can be impactfully integrated into practical applications. Students enjoyed the chance to take their knowledge and  apply it to the community project concepts presented by Dillon Consulting.”

Dr. John Maclachlan, Professor

Students were introduced to Dillon Consulting and provided multiple videos outlining our current, ongoing work in Sustainability from eight of our Business Units (Community Infrastructure, Community Strategies, Contaminated Sites Management, Environmental Management, Facilities, Land Development, Transportation and Waste Management). 

We then asked students to provide input on future sustainability approaches for one (or more) of Dillon’s  Business Units: what haven’t we thought of, and how else could we increase the use of sustainability principles in our work and across our communities? 

Student submissions were evaluated by each of the Business Unit Managers on the following criteria: 

  • Practicality: could it be applied to a real-world scenario?
  • Effectiveness: if applied, would it be successful, and what would be the magnitude of the impact? 
  • Cost Benefit: would the benefit be higher than the cost required to implement the idea?

Through this assignment, the students gained knowledge of current, real-world sustainability applications, while also allowing them the opportunity to measurably and positively impact the world around them by sharing their ideas for future applications. 

The submissions were thoroughly vetted by Dillon Consulting and reviewed for potential application to current and future community applications. Of the approximately 125 student entries, one concept per Business Unit was chosen to be featured as an example of the student’s innovative and sustainable thinking.

Read the highlights below of the chosen submissions for each Business Unit.

Community Infrastructure

Erin Szeto: Integration of Indigenous communities’ traditional knowledge into park planning to improve environmental connection and ecosystem function. 

Community Strategies:

Use of mobile technology to solicit local feedback on areas for community improvement 

Contaminated Sites Management

Olivia Roman: Application of caps and barriers to increase recreational community use of impacted properties for areas that are difficult to remediate.

Environmental Management

Chetan Abhayaratne: Proactive introduction of Triple Bottom Line (TBL), Supply Chain Management (SCM) and Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) concepts to industry partners to prompt sustainability applications.


Applying biomimicry technology to exterior windows for improved maintenance and thermal regulation

Land Development

Marina Floris: Minimize foundation excavations to preserve hydraulic connectivity and water quality.


Ilesha Prabhudesai: Technology application creation allowing commuters to measure and compare the environmental impact of their travel options.

Waste Management

Aleena Rakkar: Non-traditional waste collection methodology for large buildings (i.e., vacuum transportation) to increase appropriate waste categorization and reduce carbon impacts.

Contact us to further discuss how #SustainabilityMatters!