Three Brock undergraduate students recently joined more than 100 post-secondary learners from across Canada to pitch their ideas to inspire action and create a more sustainable future.
Kassie Burns, a third-year Biological Sciences student with a minor in Environmental Sustainability, Jercin Elsa Koshy, a first-year Public Health student, and Jordan Sheridan, a second-year Biological Sciences and Med Plus student with a minor in Classics, made it to the final round of presentations at the Designing Change for a Living Planet 2021 conference and competition, hosted annually by World Wildlife Fund Canada (WWF-Canada).
Held from May 29 to June 5, the competition saw Burns, Koshy and Sheridan share their ideas on how to build a more sustainable future both at Brock and in local and global communities. Included in the students’ proposal was an expansion of Brock’s Campus-Wide Co-Curriculum Certificate of Engagement to include an Environmental Action domain to engage students in conservation and sustainable actions to help the environment.
“I gained a lot of value by participating in the Designing Change for a Living Planet 2021 competition, working on my teamwork, problem-solving and time management skills, and gaining an appreciation for the entire process itself,” Sheridan said.
Through the event, students had the ability to practise their leadership, pitching and presenting skills, all while learning to work together.
It was the collaborative aspect that Sheridan found most beneficial.
“It was absolutely incredible to witness students from across the nation come together with a passion to drive positive, sustainable change,” she said. “If there is one thing I will take away from this experience, it will be to never underestimate the results that a collective group coming together can achieve through collaboration.”
While drawing on inspiration from their everyday lives and unique academic backgrounds, participants had the opportunity to create and innovate with WWF-Canada and a team of students; build their resumé; gain skills and experiences in leadership and teamwork; network with professionals from various industries; and compete for a conservation grant.
”I wanted to take part in the competition to network with like-minded students and professionals, as well as create innovative ideas that could potentially make a difference at university campuses,” Koshy said. “WWF-Canada promoted inclusion in diversity through this event, which really caught my eye.”
As Brock is a Living Planet @ Campus partner with WWF-Canada, students who participated in the competition were able to count the experience towards their WWF-Canada Living Planet Leader certification.
Regardless of experience or academic background, students are encouraged to sign up for the Living Planet Leader certification. The nationally recognized designation provides an opportunity for students to take on environmental actions in the categories of volunteerism, personal application of sustainability, application of sustainability in academics, and leadership and teamwork.
“I decided to sign up for the Living Planet Leader certification because its core values matched my own and I know the importance of individual action to create sustainable change,” Burns said. “By participating in the certification, I was able to ensure I am doing my part. Often the certification’s requirements already matched things I was doing in my daily life that I can now get recognition for.”
Students can visit Sustainability at Brock, where updates and opportunities for participation in events are posted.