The bootcamp was put on by the British Columbia Council for International Cooperation (BCCIC) to raise awareness of the UN’s 17 global goals for sustainable development – the world’s agenda for achieving a sustainable and inclusive planet by 2030.
“This was a great opportunity to support youth engagement within the framework of sustainable development,” said Jerry Mundi, an NIC graduate now working as the regional co-ordinator for the Comox Valley Global Awareness Network, the local BCCIC chapter that sponsored the students’ trip. “It’s important to give students the knowledge and tools to become change makers in their communities.”
As part of the bootcamp, students from across BC came together to take part in a road trip to the Calgary SDG Symposium – Together 2017.
“We had a two-day workshop before the road trip,” said Binas. “The goals were divided among us and we each had to prepare a presentation on how the goal connected with our life. Everyone had their own story.”
The road trip included two stops, one in Kelowna for a presentation and workshop with high school students and a second in Nelson for a community presentation.
“Our facilitators left it up to us about how the presentations would go,” said Binas. “They were there to support us, but let us make it our own.”
At the Together 2017 Symposium in Calgary, students met government officials, representatives from non-government organizations and other decision makers.
“Having the opportunity to connect one-on-one – it was the best part of the trip,” said Vikas, who is studying accounting in NIC’s Business Administration post-degree diploma program. “We were having these deep discussions with people we just met. It also showed me the connection my career could have with sustainable development and helping my community.”
Following the symposium, the bootcamp involved identifying and planning public engagement activities to raise awareness of the goals, which include ending poverty and hunger, ensuring quality education, gender equality as well as responsible consumption and production patterns.
“I have a lot of ideas that I came away with that could help the community,” said Binas. “Things like improving access to recycling or supporting sustainable tourism. It was really inspiring.”
Both Mohammed and Jain would recommend the experience to other students.
“It was the experience of a lifetime,” said Vikas. “For a student to go and explore and connect with people and learn about what’s going on across the country and around the world – it’s an incredible and inspiring thing to do.”
Find out more about the BC Council for International Cooperation: https://bccic.ca/