Course credit opportunity
To make the conference even more meaningful and relevant, you may opt to use the experience towards an Independent Study course credit or as the basis for an Undergraduate Honours Thesis.
Below you will find information to help you work towards making the Youth Conference for Sustainability Leadership count as a course credit. To explore this option, take this package to your Department Undergraduate Chair or Administrator, or choose a professor you think would be a good person to work with on this course.
To help you understand how the conference offers learning opportunities, we have included an estimate of time you will commit to the different phases of the event. We have also provided an outline of the material you will cover, what you will achieve and the resources you will take away when you return to your community.
The conference is designed so you will:
Develop expertise about sustainability and change in terms of systems thinking. Systems explored could include energy, food, water economics, transportation, production and consumption, civic engagement/ democracy/participation, the build environment, education and learning or health and well-being
Hone your research and communication abilities
Establish and build networks with student, business and sustainability leaders
Build teamwork skills
Prepare the tools and develop the skills to deliver the sustainability message back to your universities and communities
Leading up to the conference, you will be placed in a team to explore sustainable opportunities in one of five sectors: insurance and financial services; manufacturing; retail; food systems; or municipal public services. You will work with people from this team throughout all of the sessions.
There are three stages to your conference involvement: pre-conference work; the conference at the University of Guelph; and, post-conference work in your community.
- Pre-conference work - 25 hours
The intention with the pre-work is to provide a common starting point - to accelerate collaboration amongst the participants upon arrival at the conference. Through the pre-work, participants will learn a common language they can use to discuss sustainability issues.
At the end of the pre-work, you will have:
- Created a short biography outlining your experience and areas of interest;
- Familiarized yourself with the backgrounds and experience of fellow IMPACT participants;
- Completed The Natural Step's Sustainability 101 e-learning course;
- Read the article 'Leverage Points: Places to Intervene in a system' by Donella Meadows;
- Read 'The Sustainability Champion's Guidebook' by Bob Willard
- Identified a system you have a stake in changing, and would like to learn more about.
B. Conference activities - 30 hours
The conference provides you with opportunities to learn about a range of business sectors in the context of sustainability. Equally important, it offers you an experience where you will build your teamwork and leadership capacities as you work in groups and learn from world recognized speakers. You will also have the chance to develop your communication and critical thinking skills as you interact with and present to your peers and the larger group including system experts.
- World Café dialogue
- Keynote speaker, David Suzuki
- Systems thinking and sustainability, Natural Step
- Afternoon - Exploring the sustainability gap: Systems baseline work in groups by system type
Friday night: Tools for change skill building workshops
- Integration and reflection
- Exploring the sustainability gap: Compelling vision
- Evening reception
- Sharing key learning
- Personal commitment
- Closing speaker - motivational
C. Post conference activities - 5 hours
The intention is to build a strong community and network during the in-person conference, as well as to provide inspiration and learning opportunities. The post-conference support will enable participants to remain connected to the IMPACT energy and support, as they demonstrate leadership in their own lives and communities.
Here, the ideas that have been mentioned so far are listed. A more robust set of objectives, and the plan to enable this, will need to be elaborated upon.
Ideas for the post conference program:
- Mentoring program
- Internships with some of the partner organizations
- Funding to support projects and initiatives (IMPACT Fund)
From start to finish you will engage in at least 60 hours of research, writing, collaboration and learning as you work through the conference and related activities. You will do this in a stimulating environment surrounded by youth leaders from across the country, in a bilingual milieu, working with industry experts while learning from key thinkers about the most pressing sustainability issues of the day.
BUILD LEADERSHIP SKILLS -
UNDERSTAND SUSTAINABILITY CHALLENGES AND SOLUTIONS -
WORK WITH YOUTH AND INDUSTRY LEADERS -
CREATE LASTING NETWORKS