Kelowna Secondary School students were the big winners at the 2022 Sustainable Development Challenge on Feb. 23.
It was a hard-fought victory as they had to beat five other thoughtful sustainability projects from other high schools around Kelowna. The Challenge is put on by Global Citizen Events as an awareness campaign and a call to action for the United Nation’s 17 Goals of Sustainable Development. The six teams each had ten minutes to pitch to convince the judges to award them funding for their projects.
The first team to present was Accessi. The energetic girls created a website to address Sustainable Development Goal Ten, reducing inequalities for those with diverse abilities. Their website provides information on the accessibility status of businesses around Kelowna. They hope to expand their website to include more businesses and public spaces around Kelowna.
Next, Books for Books took the stage with a creative presentation. The pair of young women from Kelowna Christian School has partnered with Niteo and Elohim, organizations with an educational partnership between Uganda and Canada. Books for Books will be selling notebooks, made of recycled materials, to non-profits around Kelowna to raise money for literacy campaigns in Uganda.
The sole presenter for Metro Hair was the next to share his team’s sustainable idea. Metro Hair plans to address Sustainable Goals 3 and 10 by promoting equitable access to health and well-being services in Kelowna. Metro Hair wants to provide free haircuts to people experiencing homelessness in Kelowna. He is working with Metro Community Church and volunteer hairdressers in the community to provide hygiene services free of charge in Kelowna.
The Ripple Effect took the stage with a powerful performance full of ideas for providing sustainable access to clean drinking water. The team is passionate about the cause after living through water scarcity. Three members of the team immigrated to Canada from the Philippines where they experienced inaccessibility to clean drinking water. The team is working to install water-conserving devices on their sinks and spearheading a water consumption education campaign. The Ripple Effect has also partnered with Life Water Canada with the goal of drilling a well in Kenya.
Smoothie City has started a health-focused concession stand at Rutland Secondary School. They use donated blenders from Home Depot to prepare nourishing snacks for students on their breaks. Smoothie City allows one free smoothie per shift to volunteers. They hope that access to food could be helpful for students experiencing food insecurity at home. The concession stand uses biodegradable packaging and they are looking to continue to expand their store within the school.
Lastly, Thrifty Thursdays from Kelowna Secondary School presented their sustainable initiative. They run a lunchtime thrift store and donate their profits to different charities each month. They hope to win enough money to hire a sustainability coach for School District 23.
Thrifty Thursdays members are dedicated to educating their peers about unnecessary consumerism. The group hopes to expand their reach outside the walls of KSS to other schools and into the community. Members of the community are invited to contribute gently used clothing to the thrift store.
The night concluded with a twist, however! The teams split the lump sum of funds, all receiving enough to support their projects.
Thrifty Thursdays was elated to win the trophy at the end of the night. They told Capital News, “our impact is only limited to the people we can inspire.”
They look forward to expanding Thrifty Thursdays and investigating other avenues of sustainability.