Social activist gets academic administrators’ award


Susannah Bunce (above), third-year PhD candidate in York’s Faculty of Environmental Studies, will receive one of three 2003 Graduate Student Awards of Merit from the Senior Women Academic Administrators of Canada at their annual conference in Ottawa later this month.

The following excerpt about Bunce may be read in full at the SWAAC Web site,

Bunce is a professional urban planner and social and environmental activist whose doctoral research is an interdisciplinary exploration of contemporary urban transformations. It focuses on current inner-city revitalization and redevelopment plans in Toronto.

In addition to her academic training, Bunce has a long history of activist involvement and work. As a youth, she worked with the Toronto Disarmament Network, organized peace rallies and speakers’ forums at her high school and worked for Greenpeace. While completing a BA degree at the University of Guelph in 1994, she was actively involved with the university’s chapter of Amnesty International and was a columnist at the university student paper.

In 1996, Bunce began an MES degree in urban planning at York University, studying urban community-based planning and planning advocacy. During this time, she worked with social and environmental justice organizations FoodShare and Greenest City. In 2001 she co-founded Planning Action, a non-profit collective of urban planners, architects and community activists who provide urban planning advocacy for low-income communities.

Upon completion of her doctorate, Bunce would like to continue her activist work while holding an academic position in urban planning.

The SWAAC Graduate Award of Merit is given to women graduate students who have demonstrated outstanding leadership in the university or general community while maintaining exemplary academic records.

SWAAC was founded in 1987 to provide a forum and a collective voice for women in senioradministrative ranks in Canadian universities. In 2002, the membership was expanded to include administrators from community colleges and technical institutes. For more information about SWAAC, visit