Last night at the Richmond School Board meeting, awards and commendations were given to a group of students, the City of Richmond and the David Suzuki Foundation for their work on this year’s Richmond Earth Day Youth Summit.
The REaDY summit is a joint effort of these groups designed to promote healthy living and sustainability, with a focus on getting today’s youth involved in the green movement.
Environmentally conscious students took part to make the event a success
Many of the students who got involved in the summit had already been involved with various environmental movements, including Ian Tom, 18, who graduated from Richmond Secondary School earlier this year and was a co-chair of the student committee responsible for helping organize the event.
“Prior to the REaDY summit, I had already been fairly experienced with environmental stewardship in the lower mainland,” said Tom. “As I entered high school, I joined Richmond Secondary School’s sustainability club called ‘The Green Team’.”
The student-led committee was an integral part of the organization of the summit as they would meet regularly with committees from the City of Richmond and the David Suzuki Foundation in joint steering committee meetings.
Student committee responsible for more than just speaking
Tom and his co-chair Carmen Chan were more than just student voices however, and were directly responsible for some bigger aspects of the event.
“Carmen and I worked to contact and organize the speakers and presenters for the event, as well as made sure that the sub-committees (such as food, promotion and registration) were meeting deadlines and running smoothly,” said Tom.
Winnie Hwo, public engagement and communications specialist for the David Suzuki Foundation, said that they chose Richmond to host the summit because of its cultural diversity and the prior green experience of the city’s students.
“It’s one of the fastest growing and healthiest cities in Canada,” said Hwo. “Richmond has the momentum already… as the teachers have already been teaching their students about sustainability for at least a decade.”
REaDY Summit bigger than previous events that were similar
Hwo added that Richmond schools have held Earth Day summits in the past, but with the help from the city and the David Suzuki Foundation this year, the size and public knowledge of the REaDY Summit were much larger.
Hwo accepted the award on behalf of the David Suzuki Foundation, but was also an integral part of the steering committee meetings.
“I felt lucky every day that the experience was so fantastic,” said Hwo. “The award is nice, but the relationships we forged is the real beauty of it all.”
Tom will also be receiving an award from the school board for his work as a co-chair of the student committee.
“I had expected this to simply be a heightened role as a volunteer of The Green Team,” said Tom. “Such recognition is incredibly flattering and I am very honoured.”
Tom added that he believed the summit had been largely successful and hopes to see it become an annual event not just in Richmond, but across the country.
The David Suzuki Foundation has already begun planning for a REaDY summit for 2013. Details will be made available after a press conference on Sunday October 7, 2012.