June 15th marked the 7th annual Signing Ceremony hosted by A Promise to Future Generations (or PTFG), one of several student-founded sustainability initiatives within the Skule community. Taking a somewhat broader approach than other such groups, PTFG’s mission is to “drive a paradigm shift […] to ensure we are considering the needs of future generations in all of our decisions”.
As in previous years, the ceremony was held on the same day as engineering convocation. The difference this year being that two ceremonies were held – in the morning, then in the afternoon – instead of one, in order to accommodate students who were convocating at different times of the day.
Signees listened as keynote speaker and engineering alumnus Paul Cadario spoke on the role of innovation in sustainability, giving noteworthy examples of when engineers designed with future generations in mind. Similar to the purpose behind the iron ring ceremony, the signing ceremony serves as an opportunity for signees to reflect on, and make a voluntary commitment to, sustainably serving the public interest in their future engineering works. In place of a ring to symbolize this commitment, signees pick up framed copies of the “Promise”, a list of principles based on Jacques-Yves Cousteau’s “Bill of Rights for Future Generations”.
The organizers hope the ceremony will help foster a community of “like-minded colleagues to share innovative ideas, provide advice and encouragement through difficult decisions”. Though originally focused on graduating civil engineering students, the ceremony has grown to include all engineering disciplines in its list of signees.