Like many students, Bailey did a lot of research before she chose the Environment, Resources and Sustainability (ERS) program at Waterloo.
She wanted to do some type of environmental field or corporate work, but didn’t have a definite career in mind. “When I was exploring the program, I noticed it was multi-disciplinary. It had co-op, so I could try out different jobs. And it was so customizable I could take it any direction that I wanted,” says Bailey.
She didn’t expect it to take her to Africa.
The University of Waterloo sent seven representatives to the 22nd Session of the Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention of Climate Change (COP22) in Marrakesh, Morocco. And after a gruelling application process Bailey was one of them.
When I found out I was selected… I can’t even tell you how excited I was!
There were over 6,000 attendees, representatives from over 2,100 organization and 196 countries at COP22. All working together to fight against climate change.
“To see the diversity of people from all over the world sitting in the same room working through a handful of collective concerns was amazing,” says Bailey. “This type of situation — multi-stakeholder, multi-actor collaboration — is the kind of thing you think only exists in a textbook. So to see it actually happening in person? It was inspiring.”
This type of situation — multi-stakeholder, multi-actor collaboration — is the kind of thing you think only exists in a textbook.
Each day during the conference, Bailey would walk through the medina (an old walled section of the city with narrow and maze-like streets) to the huge, tent-city set up for COP22. She had access to key meetings — and even restricted areas — where representatives were negotiating and writing agreements. She was able to attend workshops, research briefings, question & answer sessions, and meetings hosted by many different countries and organizations.
“COP22 confirms my decision that I want to be part of the bigger picture. I want to pursue environmental governance and environmental policy at local and national levels as a career,” says Bailey. “The conference made me see that it’s actually attainable. And it’s pretty amazing that Waterloo set me up to realize that, and has given me the grounding to take it to the next level."