Change Agents

Sustainability Ambassadors at York University are agents of change for a sustainable future. Being a change agent is not as easy as it first may sound because of the differences inherent in a richly diverse community like York. To be a successful change agent at York, sustainability ambassadors must possess the understanding, motivation, and skills to create that change. Understanding relates to knowledge of the environmental, economic, and social issues related to sustainability. Motivation means having a personal set of values that include sustainability plus a desire to act on those values. Skills is about having the abilities and traits to convincingly share that understanding and motivation with others.


  • Engage in self-assessment, self-reflection, and analysis
  • Reflect on what is happening to make meaning, gain perspective and understanding
  • Analyze power, structures of inequality, and social systems that govern individual and communal life
  • Understand the need for systemic change
  • Understand “organic” change
  • Make ethical decisions which incorporate responsibility to self, community, and society


  • Recognize the global implications of their actions
  • Help envision, articulate and create positive scenarios for the future of society
  • Act with integrity and courage
  • Involve others, inspire and excite participants, engender support and commitment


  • Collaborate, network, and build teams
  • Set realistic and clearly defined goals and objectives
  • Be both a leader and a follower, as necessary
  • Be willing to take baby steps if needed
  • Commit to finding solutions, not just problems
  • Communicate ideas clearly, concisely, and precisely both orally and in writing
  • Listen to others and incorporate their ideas and perspectives
  • Accommodate individual differences in decisions and actions and negotiate across these differences.
  • Challenge the status quo effectively when appropriate
  • Ability to analyze and influence groups

And last but not least:

Tolerate ambiguity and cope effectively with change themselves!


  • Resilient
  • Optimistic
  • Tenacious
  • Committed
  • Passionate
  • Innovative
  • Caring
  • Patient
  • Assertive
  • Persuasive
  • Empathetic
  • Leadership
  • Authentic
  • Ethical
  • Self-Aware
  • Competent
  • Curious

Useful theoretical models for further research:
"A Social Change Model of Leadership Development” (1996)
"Systemic Leadership” (Allen & Cherrey, 2000)
"Reframing Organizations” (Bolman & Deal, 2003)
"Relational Leadership” (Komives, S. R., Lucas, N., & McMahon, T. R., 1998)