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Student sustainability summit comes to Sussex


‘Sustainability Together’ was the theme of this year’s World Student Environmental Network Global Summit, held in July at the University of Sussex and Keele University.

Seventy-five student delegates from more than 25 different countries discussed topics such as sustainable careers, and creative action and art.

A South African delegate said: “I have (and will) take back so much more and this whole summit experience will stay with me for a long time to come ... I have returned re-energized and inspired, especially knowing that there are many passionate and dedicated people all over the world creating positive change! Keep it green.”

More than 100 different workshops, speakers and activities were on offer throughout the week, which was funded by the two host universities, the Students’ Union at Sussex and local companies, and via crowdfunding.

Professor Andrea Cornwall, Head of Global Studies at Sussex, opened the first full day of activities with an inspiring speech on student activism and the importance of change from below.

The second day included workshops on how to take action to make campus more sustainable, with a wide variety of workshops on inclusivity, direct action, lobbying, co-operatives and campaigning skills.

All of the workshops were aimed at providing delegates with the tools and inspiration to use these ideas back at their own universities to work together for a more sustainable campus and planet.

The third day saw a change of location, via a tour of Oxford, to see the sustainable initiatives at Keele University and continue the conference.

The final two days were equally busy, with a keynote from Paul Allen from the Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT) in Wales and with creativity workshops, such as painting with nature.

On the last day an inspiring keynote speech from peace and environment activist Satish Kumar about the connectedness of nature offered a chance to reflect on some of the more critical aspects of the climate problem such as its colonial links.

Annie Pickering, one of the volunteer student organisers of the conference, said: “It was so rewarding meeting all the delegates as they arrived and them seeing them learn, make friends and have fun throughout the week, knowing that you had helped make it happen.”

The conference was entirely organised by students, who had worked since September 2015 to bring everything together: funding, delegate applications, transport accommodation and food, as well as the entire programme of speakers, workshops and activities.

To find out more about the conference, check out the WSEN 2016 website, watch this short film

Posted on behalf of: WSEN 2016
Last updated: Monday, 16 July 2018


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