UBC Reports | Vol. 47 | No. 10 | June
Little things add up to environmental award
Attention to detail is all part of doing a good job, says award-winning
by Monica Kosmak Health, Safety & Environment
In the 23 years that Sherman Yee has worked as a supervisory technician
in UBC's Food, Nutrition and Health Program (formerly Food Sciences),
he has only had a few meetings with the dean of Agricultural Sciences.
So when Dean Moura Quayle summoned Yee and his supervisor, Jim Richards,
to a mysterious meeting, he was more than a bit concerned.
"It felt like getting called to the principal's office," he recalls,
"and that's not usually a good thing."
Much to his surprise, it was a good thing -- a ceremony to honour
him as this year's recipient of the President's Environmental Award.
The award, which is given by the President's Office and the Environmental
Programs division of the Dept. of Health, Safety and Environment,
is intended to recognize the exceptional efforts of UBC employees
in making environmental awareness and protection a fundamental part
of their daily activities.
According to Mark Aston, manager of Environmental Programs, Yee
was an outstanding candidate because in taking care of many little
things, his efforts add up to one big environmental achievement.
On a daily basis, Yee recycles materials used in experiments,
uses UBC's chemical conservation programs, and manages hazardous
He has established purchasing protocols to minimize the duplication
of chemicals and ensures compliance with transportation of dangerous
goods regulations. Yee also takes the time to prepare work procedures
for all laboratory equipment and provides a comprehensive student
Why go to all this trouble? Yee insists that taking care of these
details is part of doing a good job.
"I just do it," says the technician, whose concern for the environment
evolved over the years. While he insists that his efforts are nothing
special, he has been known to go the extra mile.
"Sometimes I'll see paper in the garbage can so I'll dig it out
and put it in the recycling box," he laughs. "Maybe I'm just a scrounge."
Although honoured to receive the award, Yee insists he can't claim
all the credit.
"Our building has a strong safety committee, and we always stand
together. These activities have been in the fabric of our department
and faculty for years."
To learn more about the President's Environmental Award, contact
Mark Aston, Environmental Programs manager, at 604-822-9527 or