Due to the uncertainty that the pandemic caused and the multiple waves of COVID-19 that we were affected by, the VSBSC hosted the two mentor sessions, MERGE and RECALL, online through zoom, but as cases gradually dropped we were fortunate to be able to host SCOPE, our main Sustainability Conference, in-person. Lastly, we also created a new initiative called the Elementary School Workshops where we shared information with elementary school students about sustainability to intermediate grades. Our objective was to encourage sustainable habits early on and plant a seed of environmentalism in their minds before their high school experience. We had two sessions, one in December and one in April focusing on separate sectors of sustainability.
With the help of our external Graphic and Outreach Departments and our amazing team of Youth Head Delegates, we were able successfully to execute these four projects. Throughout all these events, we were able to ignite meaningful discussions and bring together a large community of students across the Vancouver School District.
Alongside these primary initiatives, we also launched VSBSC’s TikTok account. TikTok allowed us to reach a broader demographic, increasing our engagement among youth. Through our account, we shared issues affecting our community — both local and global — that Vancouver youth should know about and promoted the events organized. During this school year, we had well over 25,000 views. We also enhanced our Instagram traffic, gaining a surplus of 300 followers and 1165. Our organization also received more than 17,000 views on our Instagram reels.
On November 25th, VSBSC hosted an online mentor session called MERGE. Our goal was to “merge” sustainability and creativity, hence the name. The VSBSC invited Engineers Without Borders from UBC to share the many initiatives that they were leading and working towards. This included initiatives such as Smoke-Free Homes and Eco-Stove Designs, all of which work towards implementing sustainability into our daily lives as well as in other underdeveloped countries. This mentor session provided attendees with an opportunity to learn from engineers incorporating sustainability into their work. Through MERGE, students learned about career opportunities that connect with sustainability and climate action. We brought together around 100 youth from all across the Vancouver School District.
On February 15th and 17th, VSBSC hosted another online mentor session called RECALL. RECALL consisted of two mentor sessions featuring the Co-Founders of VSBSC, former VSBSC Chairs, and long-time supporters. These accomplished leaders got the opportunity to recall their past experiences with the VSBSC and share how this conference has impacted their current work surrounding sustainability. Our online event highlighted the experiences of activists from Vancouver, from directing non-profits to organizing protests with Sustainabiliteens. Attendees got the opportunity to learn from mentors of all ages about their lifelong progress in environmental endeavors, Our goal was to show students the opportunities that they can create in sustainability, regardless of the career they decide to pursue. Once again, this conference brought together around 60 students from across the Vancouver School District.
SCOPE was the VSBSC’s first in-person conference since COVID. The basis of our theme SCOPE was to highlight the scope of diverse places where you can find sustainability – not only in science or law, but also in mental health, fashion, and business. With the diverse workshops, activities, and range of voices, we aimed to give attendees the chance to explore the various facets of climate education and activism. The specific activities of the day featured a panel, NGO Fair, sustainable lunch, clothing swap, Kahoot, prize draw, and nine inspiring environmental workshops. Following BC Health Guidelines, we brought together over a community of 200 youth together with the common goal of protecting the environment and combating climate change. Although usually, our conferences attract senior high school grades, we were positively surprised to find a great diversity of the age groups that attended, which ranged from elementary school to university level students. Our conference was rated 4.3 out of 5 stars by our attendees showing the great success of our event.
This year, we embarked on an Elementary School Education Program visiting nine different elementary schools around our city, educating over 500 intermediate level students. Our outreach department organized two sessions, one in December and one in April. The first was an introduction to sustainability, whilst the second session focused on mental health and gardening. Youth Head Delegates and Executives showed an interactive presentation which consisted of informative google slides, a Kahoot, and a hands-on activity. The elementary school students were engaged and asked many questions, indicating their curiosity and interest in sustainability.
This school year, VSBSC has brought together over 300 high school students over our three conferences and interacted with well over 500 elementary school students across the district. Each initiative aimed to educate and inspire the next generation of sustainable changemakers and equip them with the skills and network to create meaningful action. Students also left feeling more knowledgeable concerning environmental issues and how to act upon them. The VSBSC 2021-2022 team is proud to continue on these three robust conferences, and pilot our elementary school workshop program. This would not be possible without your support, VSBSC would like to sincerely thank Neighborhood Small Grants for supporting us.