The University of Winnipeg



Chemistry student earns Campus Sustainability Recognition Award

Michael Wiebe, BSc(Hons), BSc (photo supplied)

Michael Wiebe, BSc(Hons), BSc (photo supplied)

As a dedicated chemistry student and teaching assistant, Michael Wiebe consistently went above and beyond his duties. Under the mentorship of Professor Devin Latimer, Wiebe developed a novel experiment for The University of Winnipeg’s new microwave reactor, which allows for student-led discovery of the 12 principles of Green Chemistry. An emerging area, Green Chemistry focuses on designing products and processes that minimize the use and generation of hazardous substances. Wiebe’s work sees the principles of Green Chemistry applied in such a way that they enlighten all the scientific practices that students undertake.

Wiebe dedicated many post-employment hours to developing this lab experiment into an article, which was published in the journal Green Chemistry Letters and Reviews. Professor Latimer subsequently presented this project at two international conferences: The 5th Asia-Oceania Conference on Green and Sustainable Chemistry (New Delhi, India, January 2015) and The International Chemical Congress of Pacific Basin Societies 2015 (Pacifichem, Honolulu, USA, 2015). The work was recognized at Pacifichem as “an exceptional addition to sustainable chemistry education” and was the lone senior organic oral presentation included in the two-day session Green and Sustainable Chemistry Education for Tomorrow’s Citizens of the World. Wiebe continues to assist Professor Latimer as needed on the Green Chemistry lab he helped develop.

Students at UWinnipeg will benefit from Wiebe’s efforts for a long time to come. The experiment has become pivotal to the undergraduate organic chemistry curriculum. It promotes the discovery and, most importantly, the institutionalization of the 12 principles of Green Chemistry. More than 200 science students per year at UWinnipeg — and likely many more in the global science community — will advance with the impetus to apply important sustainability principles to their future studies and careers.

For his dedicated academic work, The University of Winnipeg is proud to award Michael Wiebe the Campus Sustainability Recognition Award, to be presented at the 2016 Spring Convocation dinner on June 9, 2016.