Empowering sustainability leaders of the future

On Thursday, January 21, 2016, Sustainable Youth Canada (SYC) partnered with the Waterloo Region Environment Network (WREN) to host a one of the largest local sustainability-themed networking events for youth in our community. What can YOUth do? A Conference by Youth for Youth engaged hundreds of university and high school students throughout Waterloo Region who have a passion for environmental issues and creating sustainable change.

Panel members share sustainability expertise

Collaborating with world-changing thinkers and innovators, the conference featured a panel of local community leaders in environmental and ecological sustainability, including three representatives from the University of Waterloo: Mat Thijssen, Sustainability Coordinator in the Faculty of Environment, Tania Del Matto, Program Director at St. Paul’s GreenHouse, and Elle Crevits, fourth year Peace and Conflict Studies student and founder of Food Not Waste.

“At Waterloo, we have developed a range of sustainability expertise in areas such as climate change, sustainable energy, water, transportation, biodiversity, business engagement, and more. Bringing our knowledge to youth engagement events like these, offers the next generation opportunities to self-reflect, connect with peers who care about similar issues, and find ways to be a part of sustainable initiatives happening in their community.” – Mat Thijssen

Aiming to foster a network of environmentally-conscious youth by encouraging public discourse on environmental awareness, young attendees were encouraged to get involved, adopt sustainability efforts, and inspire others to do the same. UWaterloo panelists introduced easy ways to lead more sustainable lifestyles, suggesting everything from eating less meat, to riding a bike, participating in clothing drives, and even drinking fair trade coffee.

“It’s integral for us all to work together towards a common vision of collaboration, community, and sustainability. By sharing the University’s research in environmental innovation with the community, we are actively helping to inspire the next generation of sustainability leaders.” – Mat Thijssen

This post originally appeared on the University of Waterloo's Community Relations and Events blog.