Louise St. Pierre Nominated for YWCA Women of Distinction Award

Louise St Pierre

By Perrin Grauer

Posted on April 09, 2024

The designer and ECU faculty member says she is honoured to be counted among the amazing women who comprise this year’s nominees.

Designer and ECU faculty member Louise St. Pierre is among the 2024 YWCA Women of Distinction Award nominees.

Louise is nominated for an award in Environmental Sustainability — one of twelve award categories in this year’s celebration.

“Louise is a Professor at Emily Carr University of Art + Design, where she led the design and approval of a groundbreaking Minor in Ecological Design Practices,” the YWCA writes in its bio.

“Dr. St. Pierre co-founded the first Design for Social Innovation and Sustainability (DESIS) lab in Canada and her ongoing work with the DESIS international steering group exemplifies her dedication to advancing sustainable social change through design. Louise wrote a highly influential chapter, ‘Nature’s Systems,’ in the Routledge Handbook of Sustainability and Fashion, positioning her at the forefront of the design discipline.

“Her collaborative efforts, such as the Okala guide, have transformed design education worldwide, impacting the world’s influential institutions, and her emphasis on ecological literacy, animist awareness and contemplative practices in design education and application are shaping the next generation of designers.”

Reflecting on the honour, Louise says she’s humbled by the energy her friends and colleagues put into her nomination.

“This is not a small thing; I am really grateful,” she says.

Louise points out the YWCA awards celebrate “women in plural.”

“There are 107 nominees this year. I met some amazing women in the group. They’re all doing things I would’ve never imagined doing, all of which are significant to our world,” she says.

“As a feminist, I was struck by how it takes a special effort to acknowledge the work of these women and how easily their contributions are taken for granted in a patriarchal society. I feel honoured to be among them.”

Louise adds the YWCA does extraordinary work advocating for and supporting women “who are struggling to raise children on their own, find housing and recover from illness and addiction. They are strongly supportive of BIPOC, particularly Indigenous women. The YWCA is a genuinely caring organization.”

Each YWCA Women of Distinction nominee is eligible to win the Connecting the Community Award. The winner, selected by public vote, chooses a YWCA cause important to her, donating $10,000 – courtesy of Scotiabank – to the YWCA program of her choice. Voting is now open and will close on April 12, 2024.

“As a former resident in the Downtown Eastside, I saw firsthand how difficult life was for single mothers,” Louise writes in her Connecting the Community brief. “Housing is essential to their ability to support themselves and their families. I strongly support the YWCA’s efforts to provide Affordable Housing for Single Mother-led Families.

The final winners in each category of the 2024 YWCA Women of Distinction Awards will be announced at a sold-out gala event in Vancouver on May 13.

Read our 2023 feature profile about Louise via the ECU website.

Visit ECU online to learn more about studying Ecological Design Practice at Emily Carr University.