By Myra Wei, Prince of Wales Secondary student
The Vancouver School District's seventh sustainability conference was held at the end of April at Prince of Wales Secondary School. The conference was organized by students from a number of the District's secondary schools. The annual event was created with the intention to promote and inspire sustainable action in youth and in our communities.
The theme for this year's conference was 'Catalyst'. A catalyst is defined as something that speeds up change. The goal of the conference was to inspire service and leadership in sustainability through interactive workshops, speakers, and networking opportunities. Throughout the day, the importance of collaborative leadership and sustainable change was emphasized.
Over two hundred youth and adult attendees from across Metro Vancouver gathered together to celebrate sustainability and discuss ideas and tools to create sustainable change in their communities. Attendees listened to keynote speakers, performers, and panelists, as they shared their work and stories. They were then able to attend various workshops of their choice, hosted by non-profit organizations such as Suzuki Speaks and Better Environmentally Sound Transportation. These workshops taught students about ways to create sustainable change for a sustainable future.
During the zero-waste lunch, 25 non-profit organizations hosted booths at the NGO fair, allowing attendees to learn more about initiatives in their community. The event ended with a game activity where participants were tasked with creating the most successful water filtration system.
The biggest takeaway from the conference is that change can start anywhere, and that even small actions taken are capable of creating an even larger chain reaction.
The organizing team hope attendees use the knowledge they gain from the conference to step forward and enact positive change in their community. They also have ambition to expand their audience in the years to come and continue to inspire the youth of today.