BCom grad takes sustainability worldwide

Peter B. Gustavson School of Business

- Rachel Goldsworthy, coordinator, Centre for Social and Sustainable Innovation, Gustavson School of Business

When he came to UVic from his hometown of Fernie, BC, Michael Traverse literally didn’t find his footing right away. To begin with, he broke his leg at the start of his first year. Then he had to decide between arts, sciences, theatre, business…. The options were enticing.

But once he got his feet under him, there was no stopping him.

“I’m more than happy I took this path,” says Traverse, who will receive his Bachelor of Commerce degree on Nov. 7.

He had some help along the way. He regularly relied on a family friend, who listened and advised whenever Traverse asked.

“She was always there to help me educationally,” he says.

Traverse also received a Black Press scholarship for each of his four years at UVic.

“That made my time at school way easier,” he says. “I’m forever grateful for that.”

“The business program is very progressive,” he explains. “The mandatory co-op was very appealing; I didn’t want to come out [of university] with zero business experience. Also, the exchange program was a huge motivating factor.”

But Traverse wasn’t content to stick with even those exciting basics. During third year—his first year in the Commerce program—the Business and Sustainability course piqued his interest. He got involved with the Commerce Students’ Society Sustainability Club and helped organize a carrotmob, a reverse boycott of a local business.

He loved the carrotmob (“I think they’re a brilliant idea!”) and the sense of engagement, so Traverse had to find a way to stay involved with his Gustavson colleagues as well as sustainability while he was on exchange in Vienna the next year. He enlisted a fellow student to be co-director of the Sustainability Club; she would keep things running while he was away, and when he returned to Victoria, he’d be available for hands-on projects like organizing another carrotmob.

Even that wasn’t enough.

Next, he developed the idea of a SustainableExchange blog [http://sustainableexchange.wordpress.com/].

“About 80 per cent of [commerce] students go on exchange,” he says. “I saw that as a great opportunity to see what other countries or cultures are doing. I thought a blog would be a great platform…to make that link between sustainability and that it’s an international thing.”

Traverse’s SustainableExchange blog gets intriguing posts from students around the world; carrotmobs are a regular part of Gustavson culture; the sustainable events checklist that he co-created is a welcome addition to websites across campus. And now Traverse sees potential to help his new employer, Teck Coal Ltd., which he sees as a sustainability-driven company, move forward with sustainability as well.

“When I take on something,” he explains, “I really want to succeed at it.”

Judging by his legacy at Gustavson, Michael Traverse is already hitting his stride.


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Keywords: sustainability, commerse

People: Michael Traverse

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