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Huron student Cogie Cogan is making waves in environmental sustainability and animal welfare

Apr 21 2023

LONDON, ON - Starting from their first year of studies, Cogie Cogan has not failed to make an impact in areas surrounding environmental sustainability and animal welfare.

In less than three years, Cogie has gone from learning about all things sustainability to moving into a consulting space, in addition to their academics in Huron’s Centre for Global Studies and the social aspect of being a university student.

Organizations are turning to Cogie to see how they can help Canada transition to net zero, and it all started in their first year of university with founding the Western Environmental Business club – the first club for creating the next generation of sustainability business leaders through case competitions, panel speaker series’ and more.

Establishing this club, however, was just the beginning of a much larger ripple effect. Cogie’s passion led to the pursuit of additional leadership opportunities, including being selected as the Sustainability Commissioner for the Huron University College Students’ Council.

Through this role, Cogie successfully advocated for Huron to become a designated Blue Community, which meant the end the sale of bottled water products and only using publicly-financed water and wastewater services.

To help extend Cogie’s passions into employment opportunities, Huron assisted Cogie in securing their first-ever paid role working in environmental sustainability as a research assistant for Dr. Kendra Coulter. Dr. Coulter has been a mentor for Cogie, and has left a major impact on their work, leading to their understanding that they can make a bigger impact if they focus on a topic within their field.

“You think about climate change and that’s such a broad topic, and now for me it’s about narrowing down my focus and thinking ‘how can I help the planet, people, and animals who live here? What’s something specific I can focus on?’” Cogie says.

They decided to focus their passion on animal welfare, saying, “We talk about sustainability but it’s hard for us to say what we specifically need to do...For me, it’s about getting to it and looking at what the actual things are that science is pointing to and industrial-agriculture is a huge part of that.”

“What's especially impressive about Cogie is their nonnegotiable commitment to seeing animals not as afterthoughts or statistics, but rather as fellow beings who are central to sustainability. With young leaders like Cogie, our chances of creating a humane and just future increase exponentially.” says Dr. Kendra Coulter, Professor, Management and Organizational Studies.

Much of their advocacy, experiences, and work they completed in first and second year of university has led them to move into a consulting space. Cogie has been recognized as a leading student voice in environmental sustainability and as such, was invited to a UN climate change convention in Kenya to represent Canadian youth, a climate change fellowship at Duke University, to speak at an ecology conference in Ottawa, and was presented with the Industry Disruptor Award from an RBC pitch competition – all while interning as a climate change business analyst for RBC.

Amongst the Huron community and beyond, Cogie’s effort certainly doesn’t go unnoticed. Recently, they were awarded with the Western Green Award for their contribution to advocating and utilizing sustainable practices on campus.

With every experience, Cogie is turning the ripples of their impact on environmental sustainability and animal welfare into waves. A true Leader with Heart, they are continuously seeking ways in which they can help in making our world a better and brighter place.

Cogie reflects leading up to this year’s Earth Day, saying: “I see myself helping to lead Canada towards net zero through simultaneously contributing to the welfare of animals. How I do that is to be determined, but my mission is clear.”