David Champagne

 
Cities, Sustainability and Inequality
 

Why did you decide to pursue a graduate degree?

I felt daunted by the astounding challenges our societies face today. Simply, it is something I was and am constantly thinking about. Wether with regards to the critical levels of inequality worldwide, be it following gendered, racialized, or economic lines, or with regards to the extreme un-sustainability of our relation to the environment (to name only these). In the face of the very scale of these issues, I am constantly yearning to understand, investigate and hopefully contribute, even in a modest capacity, to these pressing challenges. As such, to enrol in a PhD seemed pertinent.

Why did you decide to study at UBC?

It was mostly following a need to meet new networks of activists, policy markers and scholars in my field. But also, to discover some of the most creative and relevant contemporary research in sustainability and political economy. Moreover, I wanted to learn from an international network of ideas around these issues. For all these reasons, UBC was very compelling.

What is it specifically, that your program offers, that attracted you?

Wanting to pursue my PhD studies in sociology, UBC Sociology was particularly in tune with the preoccupations I wanted to explore. The program reunites specialists of urban as well as environmental sociology in a theoretically grounded fashion. Furthermore, as I also hoped to work in an interdisciplinary manner, the program is at neighbouring distance of other exceptional expertise such as UBC Sustainability, the Social Justice Institute, as well as the Departments of Political Science and of Geography.

What was the best surprise about UBC or life in Vancouver?

I have found a truly stimulating and generous community of grad students, researchers and faculty. The numerous informal chats and meetings are always engaging, provoking and interesting.

What do you like to do for fun or relaxation?

Many friendly gatherings, as well as daily periods of meditation and/or yoga.

What advice do you have for new graduate students?

In my opinion, the pace, intensity and range of possibilities of scholarly research can be overwhelming. Often, we may feel like we are not up to the task, notably in terms of writing. In the face of this dilemma, I found that writing daily, sometimes without any set goals or expectations, can unblock terrains we've been wanting to pin down or explore for a long time.