“Embrace the idea that your actions have the potential to shape a brighter tomorrow.”

Taimur Akhtar

2024 Top 30 Under 30

ABOUT

AGE: 23

PRONOUNS: He/Him

HOMETOWN: Calgary, AB

CURRENT RESIDENCE: Calgary, AB

ORGANIZATIONS:

  • Students’ Union, University of Calgary
  • University of Calgary Board of Governors
  • Environment, Health, Safety & Sustainability Committee, University of Calgary

SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS I’M WORKING TOWARDS:

What specific issue(s) are you taking on, and what inspires you to do so?

Over the past year, my primary focus at the University of Calgary has been addressing systemic inequalities that hinder students’ access to higher education. Engaging with the Board of Governors and the University of Calgary Students’ Union, I advocate for the removal of barriers faced by underrepresented groups, including racial and religious minorities, 2SLGBTQIA+ individuals, and socioeconomically disadvantaged students. Beyond advocacy, I am dedicated to fostering a safe and sustainable campus for everyone in the community. This commitment to dismantling systemic barriers propels my efforts, contributing to a more equitable and accessible University of Calgary.

Every day, witnessing the progress and resilience of students inspires me to advocate for a more inclusive and equitable university environment, fueled by the belief that their success motivates positive change.

I am also involved in volunteering at shelters like the Calgary Drop-In & Rehab Centre and Inn from the Cold in Calgary. This work allows me to directly address homelessness, emphasizing my commitment to ending poverty in all its forms.

What does climate change or climate justice mean to you? To your work?

Climate change, to me, signifies a global crisis demanding urgent attention and collective action. In my role on the Board at the University of Calgary, climate change is a pivotal consideration, influencing decisions and policies. As a member of the university’s Environment, Health, Safety & Sustainability Committee, the Sustainable Development Goals are a core aspect of my responsibilities, aligning with my understanding of alternative energy, a major component of my degree. This knowledge equips me to effectively advocate for sustainable practices within the university’s framework, emphasizing the importance of climate justice – ensuring that environmental decisions consider the equitable distribution of benefits and burdens, particularly for marginalized communities. Through my work, I aim to contribute to a more sustainable and just future both within the university and the broader community.

What advice do you have for other young people looking to get involved in sustainable development?
  • Sustainable development starts with you. Acknowledge that individual actions matter. Start by making sustainable choices in your daily life, whether it’s reducing waste, conserving energy, or supporting eco-friendly products. Educate yourself on sustainable practices and their impact on the environment. Join local sustainability initiatives, engage with like-minded communities, and collaborate on projects that promote environmental stewardship.

Taimur donating bedding items to a family in Siem Reap, Cambodia as a group leader for Habitat for Humanity

Taimur on stage after winning the University of Calgary Students’ Union election for Board of Governors.

Taimur making 500 sandwiches as Vice President of Finance of the University of Calgary Homeless Foundation.

Deborah presenting her malaria research as a D.O.O.R.S scholar at Promega headquarters in Madison, Wisconsin.

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