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Leadership, Outreach, and Community Involvement

Leadership in Science

I was a co-Chair of my department's 6th Doctoral Environmental Science Colloquium (DESC VI) in 2022. I led a scientific session on the transport and fate of plastic pollution at the 7th International Marine Debris Conference (7IMDC) in Busan, Korea in 2022, and at Ocean Sciences Meeting 2024 which were attended by 1,000+ scientists and knowledge users from all over the world. My research has influenced policy on plastic pollution locally and internationally. I regularly attend research conferences, collaborate internationally, mentor students, and give talks on my work to exchange ideas and advance scientific knowledge.

Notable activities

Primary Chair, Transport and Fate of Plastic Pollution in the Marine Environment (Oral and Poster), New Orleans, Louisiana, February 2024

Guest Speaker, Department of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences (EOAS) Colloquium Series, University of British Columbia, November 2023 (Specialized Talk and Departmental Colloquium)

Guest speaker, Climate, Atmospheric Sciences, and Oceanography (CASPO) Seminars, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, October 2023

Guest Speaker, Seminar Series, Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, April 2023

Co-Chair, Transport, mixing, and fate of plastic pollution in the ocean, 7th International Marine Debris Conference, Busan, Korea, November 2022

Guest Speaker, Graduate Student Seminar Series, University of Toronto Scarborough, November 2020

Leadership on Campus

In my first year of undergraduate studies in 2014, I founded Climate Impact Network, a student organization dedicated to raising awareness of climate change and increasing climate literacy within youth. I served as the Sustainability Commissioner of the University of Toronto Students' Union from 2015-2017. In 2015, I founded my university's student delegation to the Paris Climate Summit; I along with five other students participated in international climate negotiations in Paris and hosted a conference in Canada afterwards to galvanize action and demand climate leadership from our government. 

Notable activities

Lead Organizer, "COP21 Paris Climate Agreement - What's Next for Canada?" Conference, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada, March 2016

Sustainability Commissioner, University of Toronto Student Union, Toronto, Canada 2015-2017

Founder, COP21 University of Toronto Student Delegation, Paris, France 2015

Founder, Climate Impact Network, Toronto, Canada 2014-2017

Founder, InnovaMasters Annual Competition, Toronto, Canada, 2014-2016

Leadership in the Community

I am a member of the University of Toronto Trash Team, a group dedicated to educating the public about waste management and plastic pollution and taking direct action through community clean-ups. I am also an executive member of People's Climate Movement, a grassroots organization dedicated to raising awareness of climate change and influencing climate policy in both Toronto and Canada. I mobilize regularly with Fridays for Future Toronto.

Notable activities

Community Cleanup Organizer, University of Toronto Trash Team, Toronto, Canada, 2017-present

Executive Member, University of Toronto Trash Team, Toronto, Canada 2017-present

Speaker, Global Day of Action COP26 Rally, Queen's Park, Canada, September 2022

Guest Appearance, "Frontlines": A Documentary about Youth at the Frontlines of the Climate Movement in Toronto, Canada, 2022

Producer and Narrator, "Let's Break Down Plastic" Video Series, Toronto, Canada, 2021-2022

Lead Organizer, Toronto on Fire Rally, Queen's Park, Canada, November 2021

Guest Appearance, "Beyond Crisis": A Documentary about the Climate Movement, Toronto, Canada, 2017

Executive Member, People's Climate Movement, Toronto, Canada 2015-present

Lead Organizer, March for Jobs, Justice, and Climate, Toronto, Canada, July 2015

Seminars for the Public:

Keynote Speaker, "Climate Change Science and Policy", STEM Perspective on Climate Change Conference, Toronto, Canada, September 2021

Guest Speaker, "What Are Microplastics?", Vaughan Public Library, February 2021

Guest Speaker, Talk: "Individual Actions Against Waste", Global Leadership Organization, November 2020

Guest Speaker, Talk: "From the Bay Area to the Arctic: Shezad Dawood and Alice Xia Zhu", Museum of Contemporary Art, Toronto, Canada, September 2019 

Blogs, Newspaper Articles, Magazine Pieces:

Zhu, X. (2023). Platforms of Leading 2023 Toronto Mayoral Candidates. People's Climate Movement Website, June 19, 2023. 

Zhu, X. and Rochman, C. (2022). Here’s how the new global treaty on plastic pollution can help solve this crisis. The Conversation. March 29, 2022. 

Zhu, X. (2021) Plastic is part of the carbon cycle and needs to be included in climate calculations. The Conversation.

Zhu, X. (2021) "Polluter Pays Principle": Stopping fishing gear loss to our oceans requires greater accountability from fishers. The Starfish.

Zhu, X. (2021) The social, environmental, and economic impacts of space colonization. The Starfish.

Zhu, X. (2021). Five years are up! It’s time for a more ambitious Canadian Contribution to COP26. People's Climate Movement Website, February 2, 2021

Zhu, X. (2019). Pipeline Perspectives. People's Climate Movement Website, September 15, 2019

Zhu, X. (2016). On the Paris climate summit, the role of youth, and next steps for CanadaThe Starfish. January 6, 2016

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