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Being a young changemaker

Global Sustainability Institute

Faculty: Science and Engineering
Category: Student blogs

30 November 2017

Photo of pupils in group workshop

On 8 November 2017, the Education for Sustainability team invited young people from across Cambridgeshire to Anglia Ruskin's Cambridge campus to explore how they could go about changing the world. Our student intern, Hollie, reflects on the experience

Greeting our guests at 9am, it was great to see excited pupils (and teachers too!) from local schools across Cambridgeshire wanting to learn about sustainability. In the morning, leading social science researchers from the Global Sustainability Institute introduced the concept of being a ‘Young Change Maker’ through a series of short talks. Their presentations on sustainability within the economy, society, and the environment hoped to inspire the students to develop their existing knowledge on these issues, and learn more about them.

Whilst the students were in the seminars, I had the wonderful chance to meet the representatives from local organisations and help them set up their stalls for the lunch time fair. These organisations specialised in different areas of sustainability within the community. When talking to the representatives, they expressed how excited they were to meet the students. For them, this was an opportunity to capture the students’ interests in sustainability, to encourage their learning and to share with them some of the local initiatives taking place. Whilst helping the students navigate around the university, I also had the opportunity to take part in a few activities on the stalls and talk to the representatives. This was a valuable experience for me as I was able to develop my networking skills, meet like-minded people and learn about how local organisations are trying to push for a sustainable future. 

Another enjoyable aspect of the day was working with the other volunteers. Despite being from different undergraduate and postgraduate courses, the students helping at the event shared one common interest of wanting to learn more about sustainable development.  We talked about areas of sustainability that particularly interested us and what we have done to support these interests. From talking to the representatives and the volunteers, I was given lots of ideas about courses I could go on, books to read, possible ideas about dissertation projects, event invitations and even career advice.

Towards the end of the day, SEEd Executive Chair, Ann Finlayson, encouraged the students to get together in groups to look at a global problem. Each group focused on a different issue of their choice to resolve. By giving students from different schools the chance to work together, they learnt how to effectively collaborate their ideas and present their solutions to the rest of the attendees. The group I was working with started to think about how they could implement changes around their school. They proposed that they could reduce the school’s volume of waste by recycling more and setting up a book bank to donate unwanted books to schools in less developed countries. The task was extremely useful for the students as they could apply the information they had learned through the guest speakers and from the representatives to real life concerns. This was my favourite part of the day because I really enjoyed helping the students and seeing their enthusiasm.

By Hollie
GSI student intern


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