When Jenna Phillips recently rebranded her online platform as Clear the Air, its former name—Jenna’s Journey—is a really appropriate one for the path she’s on.
Jenna, a third year Environment, Resource and Sustainability student, minoring in Geography and Environmental Management, began blogging in her final year of high school, with her blog being a reflective online diary. The blog shifted as she began to learn more about the environment, reflecting her growing interests in living sustainably. Not only did she begin writing for her peers, but she began looking at other ways to spread the message, connecting with other environment and youth organizations, and engaging in public speaking.
At the same time, Jenna applied to be a don at St. Paul’s University College last spring. When she was accepted, she found out she would be the don for GreenHouse Innovators in Residence. “I had heard about GreenHouse but I wasn’t sure what it was and thought I would eventually look into it. As I prepared to be a don, I realized I should have applied to be part of the community.” Jenna decided to take advantage of the opportunity to learn how to better build her platform.
“Even though I had been blogging for a few years, I didn’t really understand how to identify a problem and validate it, how to build a network and create a mission.”
While supporting residence students, Jenna began to learn exactly that. She joined with an initiative out of the University of Guelph, creating the Waterloo chapter of Youth Action on Climate Change. She rebranded and focused her blog and associated social media platforms. She has offered workshops and sat on panels associated with green living and business. She is about to launch a podcast, and is beginning to think about creating a sustainable living e-book aimed at youth.
While all of this keeps Jenna very busy –" I basically have a full time co-op job and two part-time jobs between the platform and Youth Action on Climate Change”—she is highly motivated. “It is my future and future of upcoming generations. It’s not fair for people not even born to enter a world where they have to worry about clean water, endangered species, global warming. I want to stop that in its tracks. From my experience, as a youth, you feel like your voice isn’t heard, but if youth care, they will want to seek information. That’s my biggest driver. I want to show your voice does matter. You can take action – one action will make an impact.”
To keep up to date with Clear the Air, follow the blog and listen to the podcast here.