Humber sending eco-minded students to WWF conference
For Gayathri Menon, climate change isn’t just a headline. It’s an inescapable fact of life.
“As we move forward in today’s world, we can see how human actions have really had a negative impact on our planet,” said Menon, a fashion management and promotions student at Humber College.
“Sustainability is something that should not be implied occasionally,” she said.
Menon’s interest in the environment is what led her to participate in the World Wildlife Fund’s Designing Change for a Living Planet conference last year.
The one-day event, which is organized annually under the WWF’s Living Planet @ Campus platform, tasks post-secondary students from across Ontario with designing a device, object or installation addressing a sustainability-related issue.
It also offers participants the chance to network with peers and industry experts and to present their work to WWF staff and a panel of judges.
Humber’s Office of Sustainability has sent a team students to the Designing Change for a Living Planet conference since its inception in 2018.
This year’s event takes place on March 14 at WWF’s downtown Toronto office.
“The WWF is a recognizable group. We support it as it’s just a really great opportunity for students … to network and to meet people and to just have this experience,” said Tayler Buchanan, the communications and events coordinator at Humber’s Office of Sustainability.
Buchanan, who will be attending Designing Change for a Living Planet as a mentor to Humber’s student representatives, said WWF looks for participants from various educational backgrounds who have unique and boundary-pushing ideas.
Students who attend the conference should also demonstrate leadership and quick problem-solving skills, Buchanan said.
Arman Amin, an industrial design student who was one of four people selected to represent Humber at Designing Change for a Living Planet in 2018, was asked to create an art installation that illustrated the amount of trash and recyclables that are regularly sent to landfills.
“The experience of working with such a diverse group of students on an environmentally conscious project was fascinating,” he said.
“It has helped me consider and take into account the environmental impact that products have when being manufactured, as well as the ability to educate users through an empathetic design,” Amin said.
Menon appreciated the opportunity to work with peers who came from a variety of disciplines — and the chance to make environmental change in small but innovative ways.
“It provided the Humber team with a unique opportunity to meet and work with like-minded and inspiring students,” she said.
“There was an immense exchange of ideas that took place which inspired us to work towards implementing the best of those in our surroundings,” Menon said.