Joseph Witkin (2017), Hons. BSc

Joseph Witkin


Sustainability and Health - Building/Organizational Consultant

Describe your career path after graduation?

I was very focused on sustainable technology and was working in a solar lab testing new solar technologies for two years.  Following that, I got my LEED GA and LEED AP credentials, and did some coursework with the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (RAIC) in architectural design focus on green building consulting. Since then I have worked at Enliten developing sustainable and healthy building retrofits and projects for people’s health and wellbeing.  

How did the Environmental Studies program influence your career?

Originally, I was considering a career purely in health, but I found that the issues of climate change and sustainability were too compelling. I had to do something. Courses in the School of the Environment were pivotal in coming to that decision, particularly Professor Danny Harvey’s courses on climate change and sustainable technologies, Professor Karen Ing’s course Multidisciplinary Perspectives on Environment, Professor James Nugent’s GGR 222 environmental geography course, and Professor Keith Stewart’s Environmental Policy course.  These courses and others like them helped me understand climate change and environmental issues as well as how to solve them.  

How and why did you choose this career?

I had a strong concentration in healthy human environments and an aptitude for understanding technologies. When I fully understood the climate change issue, I wanted to take direct actions to reduce the problem. What I found was that a career in green buildings is where I could use both my interests in sustainable technology and healthy human environments at the same time.  We spend 90% of our time indoors, so the indoor environment plays the biggest part of our health.  And there are many technologies and systems in buildings that both save energy and improve the indoor environment for people. This is where I want to make an impact.  

Do you have a favourite memory from your time at the School?

I enjoyed the most engaging classes, spending time with friends playing music in New College’s music/piano rooms, and practicing soft martial arts at the Multi-Faith Centre. The Multi-Faith Centre’s meditation room and living wall was helpful for my stress and helped me choose to focus on green buildings. I enjoyed putting on plays in Chinese with the Language Exchange Program friends. I also enjoyed making an impact for student mental health with Let’s Talk Health.  

What types of experiences are essential? 

1)    Participate in the community and activities.
2)    Enjoy the coursework, but don’t take it so seriously.
3)    Think ahead beyond graduation.