2018 #SFTop25 finalist - Sujeethan Vigneswaran
HOMETOWN: Scarborough, Ontario
TRADITIONAL TERRITORY: Huron-Wendat and Petun First Nations, the Seneca, and most recently, the Mississaugas of the Credit River. The territory was the subject of the Dish With One Spoon Wampum Belt Covenant, an agreement between the Iroquois Confederacy and the Ojibwe and allied Nations.
Sujeethan Vigneswaran is an impressive leader and communicator. His admirable social and environmental ethics give others hope for healthier ecosystems, watersheds, and communities.
Sujeethan has shown dedication and passion through his volunteer work with Friends of the Rouge Watershed (FRW), where he helped coordinate FRW’s ecological restoration and environmental stewardship programs.
In 2015, Sujeethan completed a Grey Tree Frog environmental apprenticeship program with the FRW. He continued to volunteer with the group, assisting with the protection and restoration of forests, wetlands, and pollinator meadows. He also helped coordinate FRW’s environmental apprenticeship and Earth Day programs in 2016 and 2017.
Sujeethan took some of his skills out of the fields and into the office as well. He worked with the FRW to improve the organization’s communication strategy by designing and launching a new website. He took initiative to develop his skills in front end website development and graphic design to be able to perform the task. It is through this website that Sujeethan incorporated his passion about the environment and his skills in communication, inviting people to know more about FRW’s work.
The website has provided FRW with what it needs to reach a greater audience. Sujeethan included areas that promote community advocacy, allowing the public to write letters to the government for change, and to strengthen the protection of the Rouge National Park. He has also incorporated social media as well, broadening the impact of FRW’s work, and allowing the public to become further engaged with their local environment.
Sujeethan sets a great example for other youth looking to get more involved in environmental issues. He is sociable, and is always happy to share his knowledge with others, as well as learn more about environmental issues or solutions. He is a role model for youth as he has been able to participate, lead and accomplish FRW’s mission of restoring public lands, educating the community, and advocating for environmental action at such a young age.
Sujeethan has shown commitment and dedication to FRW as well as to many other organizations. He has balanced his education, work, being the captain of his dragon boating team, and being an active member of Ontario Nature’s Youth Council. He devotes his time to what he is truly passionate about, the care and protections of the environment, inspiring countless youth and community members who have the chance to work alongside him.