Knollenberg Foundation – Imagine an environmental challenge for change
Showcasing highly creative and innovative environmental projects!
The Knollenberg Foundation has faith in youth and believes they must play a part in the many environmental challenges facing our world. It supports students who truly care about sustainability and want to make a positive environmental impact in their communities.
The Imagine an environmental challenge for change contest gives bachelor’s and master’s students (on their own or as a team) the opportunity to develop a promising environmental project that could be implemented at Université Laval or in Québec City.
See the official contest form
Making a sustainable impact at Université Laval
In all, 21 creative and innovative projects have been launched on campus and across Québec City since the contest began. Take a look!
Sacrée Bouffe (2023)
Pierre-Yves Normandin, Interdisciplinary Bachelor’s degree in Natural and Managed Environments
Zénon Michaud, Interdisciplinary Bachelor’s degree in Natural and Managed Environments
Jonathan Tedeschi, Master’s degree in Philosophy with thesis
The Sacrée Bouffe project involves adding value to food destined for the garbage by cooking it and enjoying it with other students in a friendly setting. Participants get to enjoy a few meals for the week, vegetarian recipe ideas, and a good time, all for free. Sacrée Bouffe improves students’ food security and raises their awareness of adopting healthy, environmentally friendly eating habits.
In particular, the project encourages students to reduce food waste and adopt a plant-based diet, both solutions with great potential to reduce GHGs.
Cultiver sa santé (2023)
Samuel Richard, Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology
Laurence Paradis, Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology
Cultiver sa santé is a project that supports the creation of a calm, welcoming environment that educates students from different programs, as well as faculty members, about agriculture to improve the university community’s awareness of environmental concerns and issues. The urban agriculture project will first of all allow students to become aware of and take responsibility for eco-friendly actions and practices. The project will also allow them to develop gardening knowledge through collaborative activities with Université Laval’s agro-ecology program while enhancing their understanding of the processes involved in growing many types of fruits and vegetables. Finally, in addition to reducing their ecological footprint, the project will give them a better understanding of how edible food is made. Cultiver sa santé will undoubtedly encourage the creation of even more community gardens and garden boxes in Québec City, which in turn will reduce air pollution.
Détourner et réduire les déchets alimentaires (2023)
Creator: Jennifer Gribbon, Master’s Degree in International Studies
The goal of this project is to divert existing food waste and reduce future food waste from a large company. Through this initiative, the initiator of this project is hoping to develop a food waste reduction plan that could be adopted in arenas across the country and modified for restaurants and smaller venues, such as cafeterias. The overall goal is to help large corporations better manage food waste; engage like-minded local, provincial, and national partners; empower university students to make a real change in their communities; and of course, help offset the environmental impact of food waste in our city.
Earth Effect (2022)
Alexandre Béland Ouellette, Masters in Criminology
Jean-François Tremblay, Bachelor’s Degree in Mathematics and Computer Science
Paola Carollo, PhD in Anthropology
The context of the pandemic and isolation has brought to the fore, for a growing number of people, the desire to practice activities that are both relaxing and eco-sustainable. From there was born the home gardening project, Earth Effect.
The project involves creating a platform where people can post the herbs they grow at home to share with the neighborhood. This initiative targets not only people already organized to do gardening, but especially people in financial or social precarious situations. The project allows you to achieve small daily goals in addition to developing the feeling of pride felt when you observe a plan make its first small leaves!
On the Earth Effect platform, interested people will be able to publish short videos to present various tips for successful gardening, simple techniques for collecting water and reusing plastic containers. The platform could highlight the collective impact of these achievements on the environment and thus measure the “Earth Effect”!
Benefits for the community
- Create exchanges around a common passion and counter isolation.
- Provide access to quality products to people in a precarious financial situation.
- Promote the consumption of tasty meals containing less processed foods.
Benefits for the environment
- Raise public awareness of eco-responsible actions.
- Reduce carbon emissions and waste generation.
- Reduce the environmental impact of transporting food.
Plant your fruit tree for a healthy campus (2022)
Creator: Magalie-Jade Fortin, Bachelor of Nutrition
The objective of the Plant your fruit tree for a healthy campus project is to provide the entire university community with a local supply of fresh fruit on the Université Laval campus itself. This initiative changes supply methods to limit the impact of consumption on climate change.
The project also has an educational component, as it allows students from the Faculty of Agriculture and Food Sciences (FSAA) to develop their skills directly in the field. The project will begin on the lands of Via Agro-ecologie, a student committee of the FSAA whose mission is to promote environmentally friendly agriculture and more to manage an ecological, community and collective garden. Subsequently, the plants will be transferred to plots of land at Université Laval. The objective is to maximize the viability and sustainability of the fruit trees that will be planted as much as possible. An event will be created in the spring of 2022 to recruit students from the university community to plant these trees and shrubs.
Benefits for the community
- Provide access to fresh fruit grown directly on Université Laval land.
- Offers the university community the opportunity to harvest products during fruiting periods.
- Offer students the opportunity to develop their skills in agronomy within their study environment.
Benefits for the environment
- Integrate local procurement at the heart of Université Laval and thus limit the environmental impacts of the current food system.
- Reduce annual GHG emissions.
- Limit food waste and promote composting practices.
Eco-Responsible Greenhouse VIA Agroecologie (2022)
Antoine Mercier Fortin
The objective of the VIA Agroecologie Eco-Responsible Greenhouse project is to design and build an eco-responsible greenhouse on the grounds of Université Laval, more specifically in the VIA Agroecologie Garden, by the Eco-Greenhouses UL committee.
The project will be carried out entirely by students, in compliance with building standards. The greenhouse will be designed using eco-responsible materials, mainly wood for the structure, and recycled materials. The energy input for heating the greenhouse will come from the sun. By using a system that stores heat, it will be redistributed as needed inside the greenhouse.
As part of the construction of the greenhouse for VIA Agroecologie, members of the Eco-Greenhouses UL committee will be able to apply the knowledge acquired during their courses in various fields of engineering.
Benefits for the community
- Eliminate food transportation costs.
- Offer surplus vegetables to food banks in the region.
- Provide a training opportunity for the students involved who will become skilled labor in the field of greenhouses.
Benefits for the environment
- Encourage the cultivation and consumption of local, pesticide-free foods.
- Promote sustainable development by choosing fewer polluting materials.
- Use solar energy to reduce the use of natural gas or electricity.
The three winning projects of the 2022 Imagine That… An environmental challenge for change contest were chosen by the Université Laval selection committee, made up of the following members:
- A student life advisor at the Student Life Office
- A professor at the Faculty of Science and Engineering – expertise in environment and sustainable development
- A member of the Entrepreneuriat Laval team
- An Operations Coordinator from the Scholarships and Financial Aid
The Ferreol business project was born out of the initiative of 3 mechanical engineering undergraduate students from Université Laval, who were passionate about skiing and wanted to contribute collectively to reducing the ecological footprint of this sport. The mission of the young company founded 2 years ago: to be the pioneer in the sustainable ski industry and to market the most eco-responsible ski in the world.
Ferreol designs off-track alpine skis entirely made in Quebec. They are adapted to the specific climatic conditions of the Quebec mountains as well as those of eastern North America. The three student entrepreneurs design and manufacture their own industrial machines needed for research and development. They designed and manufactured their own ski press, as well as a numerically controlled machine tool used to machine the wooden cores of the skis in a precise and automatic way. The first ski model by Ferreol is currently on sale, the Pionnier 104, an off-track ski designed for adventure.
The materials used are local and respectful of the environment:
- the core of the ski is made from poplar and cherry from Bas-Saint-Laurent;
- the epoxy glue used is bio-sourced (a portion of the resin in the glue is made from petroleum waste);
- A first in the world: synthetic fibers will be replaced by a natural fiber, flax fiber (virtually carbon neutral to produce and having excellent mechanical properties, reducing the ecological footprint by 30%, compared to standard ski production).
The three young entrepreneurs are committed to getting involved in the sports community, the student community and throughout the entrepreneurial ecosystem. They organized unifying events for off-piste ski enthusiasts such as outings in the mountains and they participated in several conferences to promote responsible entrepreneurship among other young student entrepreneurs.
Finally, the team wishes to push sustainable development further within Ferreol and would like to set up a program to plant trees in Quebec to compensate for the cutting related to the wood cores of the skis. A very promising young company, involved in reducing the collective ecological footprint.
Visit their website
The Hydr-Eau Station Hydration Station (2021)
This innovative project aims to provide the population with access points to outdoor water to rehydrate, through fire hydrants. The prototype developed connects directly to the terminals and does not require the installation of a new network connection device.
Since the water is drinkable in the fire hydrants, they become the ideal infrastructure for setting up this distribution station. These are also present in large numbers in the urban environment and offer possibilities for multiple uses. The prototype was developed to match most water bottle formats.
The project team also worked with the Fire Protection Department (SPCI) to ensure that the installation of such a prototype would in no way slow down the work of firefighters during an emergency. The Hydr-eau station allows a rotation of the hydration tower downwards thus freeing up the workspace of the firefighters without additional manipulations.
The benefits of the project for the environment:
- Reduction of single-use containers
- Involvement of citizens and better environmental awareness
- Accessibility to drinking water in urban areas
This student project contributes to the reduction of the collective ecological footprint by taking advantage of existing facilities. In addition, the hydration station harmonizes with the environment, is accessible, easy to use and the materials used are durable and sanitary. An innovative, creative student project concerned with optimizing everyday actions to promote healthy ecological practices.
Check out their presentation
Pratico Plastique (2020)
This project, which focuses on recovering and recycling plastic, also serves as an awareness and education tool that presents an innovative solution to mitigate the environmental impact of plastic waste.
The social enterprise works in plastic recycling at the local level and achieves a positive net carbon footprint by:
- Taking a short-circuit approach that supports the local economy by collecting plastic waste using electric-assisted cargo bicycles
- Using optimal contaminant-capture technology to transform raw materials into sustainable goods, thereby reducing pollutant emissions to zero
The plastic waste collected, recycled, and transformed into practical items or furniture will be sold in stores throughout the region.
The project team also stands out for its community involvement. They raise consumer awareness of environmental issues by offering workshops in community settings and they promote work reintegration by creating jobs within the company. They also created the FabLab (manufacturing shop) to teach people how to make things, as well as the Repair Café, a workshop for repairing a wide variety of items.
This student project aimed at reducing our plastic footprint, raising public awareness, and getting the community more involved uses a highly creative and original recycling process to promote sound environmental management.
Les Snorôs (2020)
Creator: Alexane Thiffeault
The purpose of this project is to provide vegetable-based bakery and pastry products. Snorôs high-fibre, high-protein waffles are made of 50% vegetables, offering a healthy alternative for breakfast and snacks.
The team members are committed to reducing food waste by using grade B fruits and vegetables. Using ingredients mainly from Québec producers and processors, the company displays the Aliments du Québec logo on its packaging, which is reusable and recyclable. The goals of reducing their environmental footprint and contributing to the Québec economy are important concerns for the project team.
Mutual aid and social inclusion are also central values for this company, which hopes to partner with Groupe TAQ, an adapted enterprise that offers socio-occupational integration for people with functional limitations, to get help with product preparation. A partnership with the Club des petits déjeuners is also in the works to bring in volunteers and distribute their products free of charge.
This project to produce Snorôs vegetable waffles will have an ecological, economical, environmental, and social impact.
Tâche de le voir (2020)
This is an exciting awareness-raising project aimed at securing a sustainable future for the health of young people. The TÂCHE de le voir team came up with the idea of holding workshops in schools to educate youth and adolescents about the harmful effects of UV rays on the skin. Backed by dermatologists and other health specialists, the interactive presentations feature information that’s always up to date and designed to spark discussion.
Although this is a health project, the team makes a point of being as eco-friendly as possible. They decided to switch from brochures initially printed on recycled paper to electronic formats, use reusable dishes whenever possible, donate unused materials to organizations, and hand out symbolic bracelets made of sustainable materials at the end of workshops.
The project coordinators now plan to reach a wider audience by organizing a one-day event—a skin cancer screening clinic—in collaboration with dermatologists and Université Laval student volunteers. On-campus lectures and fundraising events for melanoma research are also planned.
This health project has adopted a sustainable development approach through sustainable health promotion, prevention, and maintenance activities.
Produit alimentaire Uni-Vrac (2019)
Offering healthy, nutritious, low-cost food on campus
A group of undergraduate Food Science and Technology (FSSA) students created this not-for-profit organization. Their mission: to reduce the environmental footprint of traditional food marketing by reducing overpackaging. They offer a variety of products such as grains, cereals, dried fruit, and basic pantry supplies (flour and sugar), as well as snacks such as pretzels. Customers can also purchase fresh vegetables through a partnership with VIA Agro-écologie, an FSSA student association that promotes and raises awareness about agroecological options.
The store opened in September 2019 in the Pollack Building at Université Laval.
Discover their Facebook page
Creator: Léonie Chevalier
The goal of the Be-Cycle project is to build bicycles from recycled materials, mainly plastics, to offer a new means of transportation for the university community and for rural populations in Africa.
Inspired by the Precious Plastic model, which creates things out of plastic waste, Be-Cycle aims to build bicycles by recovering locally available materials, simultaneously reducing waste, promoting mobility, and encouraging local economies.
Creating the prototype here at Université Laval would leverage the expertise of the engineering and design faculties to optimize techniques for turning plastic into useful objects. Once the concept is developed, it can be deployed in certain rural areas of Africa as a local collaborative industry where people can create and market their own bicycles, thereby addressing a transportation problem and facilitating access to education, health, and businesses.
Tasse & Co (2019)
Creator: Alice Magny
The Tasse & Co project provides a green alternative to the disposable cardboard cups used by cafés and restaurants across Québec City. Specifically, it involves setting up a subscription services where cafés can rent out a quantity of reusable coffee mugs to replace single-use cups.
Using a transactional system, customers will have the option to keep their mug for personal use or return it to one of the many drop-off locations across the city. The recovered cups will then be redistributed to the various outlets, promoting the zero-waste concept.
Tasse & Co’s mission is to significantly reduce the number of single-use coffee cups discarded each year by Québec City residents by offering an environmentally friendly alternative to single-use coffee cups and promoting cooperative values.
L’Hôpital des Nounours (2019)
Creator: Ievgen Gegiia
Making healthcare fun for kids
In 2018 some 130 children between the ages of 3 and 7 visited to the Faculty of Medicine with their favourite stuffed animal to meet the Hôpital des Nounours team of health science students. The children and their stuffed animals went on a fun and educational tour to learn all about the different parts of hospital and clinical settings: triage, medical imaging, surgery, vaccination, pharmacy, dental care, and even trauma. The project also helped future health professionals get a feel for working with young patients and how to better understand and reassure them.
The goal of this innovative, interdisciplinary project is to build an aquaponic system and microecosystem to develop food production techniques with a reduced environmental impact.
Initially, the project was to create a workspace for members of AgroCité, an association dedicated to increasing food autonomy by producing a variety of fresh, nutritious foods on campus. This led to the idea of designing an aquaponic system. The members of the group pooled their scientific knowledge and came up with a new idea: to develop an additional space for rearing insects and crayfish to reduce the environmental impact of their food production.
The fish and plant farming system turned out to be a great initiative, where fish waste is used as fertilizer for seedlings, and, in exchange for these nutrients, the plants filter the aquarium water. Insect breeding is an environmentally friendly alternative to buying commercial fish feed, while the goal of the crayfish breeding project is to assess the animals’ ability to ingest solid waste in the aquarium.
This promising R&D facility will offer greater autonomy in environmentally responsible food production (lettuce, herbs). It is an innovative concept and the epitome of alternative urban agriculture.
Comité innovation de l’ASSÉTAR
SPOT (Sympathique Place Ouvert à Tous) seeks to rehabilitate an urban space by showcasing the architecture of Québec City. This public space will be redeveloped as a place for Québec City residents to meet, interact, and take part in a variety of activities. The community aspect is also an important, integral part of the summer programming, which includes market garden day, gardening workshops, and a crafts day.
The wooden popup structure, designed and produced by students of the School of Architecture and Design with the help of local architects, will attract visitors to the square in front of St. Charles de Limoilou Church and show off the architectural heritage of this area.
This student project stands out for its unique community focus: knowledge sharing, partnership, community involvement, socially inclusive action, and promoting the chosen space using an original popup structure.
Forêt nourricière (2018)
The objective of this project is to establish a food forest in the Université Laval woods. Efforts to enhance and develop local ecosystems will also raise community awareness of sustainable practices, particularly the importance of healthy, locally sourced food. Forestry and agronomy students will join forces and pool their experience to create a space for growing organic food.
Their project is sure to have a meaningful impact because it addresses a number of social and environmental challenges. Not only will it develop urban agriculture, but it will also create a user-friendly space for meeting and learning, with signs posted to identify the plants and explain their nutritional potential. It will also promote inter-faculty collaboration.
This concept is innovative, unifying, and entirely consistent with a responsible and sustainable perspective.
Chem-E-Car Ulaval (2017)
Creator: Alexis Bernard
The goal of this project is to design a small vehicle powered by chemical reactions. This safe, green vehicle will be made from recycled materials and will not emit any pollution or waste.
This is an exciting educational project because it seeks to leverage the knowledge of chemical engineering students at Université Laval and partner with other universities to share knowledge as well as the costs of travelling to competitions and purchasing chemicals. This year, the goal is to design an electric vehicle without using lithium. Vehicle aesthetics and aerodynamics are also part of the challenge. All the work on the propulsion and braking mechanisms on this powerful little car will impact how energy will be used by tomorrow’s society. The team will take part in various competitions to demonstrate the potential of this project.
Alimentation végétalienne et sans déchet (2017)
Creator: Alicia Talbot-Lanciault
This is a project to reduce the Université Laval campus’s environmental footprint. The use of single-use containers in cafeterias and the focus on omnivore and vegetarian foods are the two main issues the project creator set out to address.
A sustainable alternative is proposed to eliminate packaging from take-out dishes (both on and off-campus) by using washable, unbreakable (and therefore reusable) dishes and by asking consumers to bring their own containers as needed.
The idea of offering one vegan meal per day in cafeterias at a lower price than other meal options is intended to help reduce the high ecological impact of the livestock sector: greenhouse gas emissions, water consumption, and land use. A potential collaboration with School of Nutrition students is being considered to develop vegan menus without processed foods.
The Service d’alimentation écoresponsable project aspires to reduce the University community’s environmental impact and make students aware of their societal responsibilities related to food.
Le Jardin des lumières (2017)
The goal of this interdisciplinary team project is to create a net-zero building that produces as much energy as it consumes. This faculty house will also raise awareness about the responsible use of building energy systems.
Sustainable materials, such as fibre-reinforced concrete (which presents clear advantages in terms of its durability and undeniable acoustic and thermal properties) and wood will be used to build the project. And solar panels, geothermal wells, rainwater collection systems, and composting tanks are just some of the innovative and sustainable technologies that will go into the building’s mechanics.
The result will be a state-of-the-art, sustainable building that is sure to have a positive impact on the lifestyle of those who frequent this “garden of lights.”