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PDCI Hosts SHSM Conference
Perth and District Collegiate Institute Hosts Community, Youth, Economy and Environment Conference
Posted on 01/18/2019
Student Caleb Marshall

January 18, 2019 (Perth, ON) – Perth and District Collegiate Institute hosted the Community, Youth, Economy, and Environment Conference on Wednesday, January 16. The conference, organized by the school’s leadership class, challenged Specialist High Skills Major (SHSM) students to lessen their sector’s impact on the environment. 

Working in groups, 110 PDCI SHSM students participated in one of seven workshops that encouraged them to find environmental solutions within their specialization. Students enjoyed workshops in Arts, Business, Horticulture and Landscaping, Information and Communications Technology, Non-Profit, Sports, and Transportation. The goal was to get students thinking about issues such as global warming, pollution and declining resources, and how changing their industries can improve the environment.

“It provided an opportunity for our students to think about the connection between themselves, their community, and environmental sustainability and how that links to our economy through the challenges we face,” said Elijah Funston, a teacher overseeing the event. “Our young people will have to come up with the solutions we need to be on this planet and have meaningful lives.” 

Students in each workshop used the  Design Thinking process  to find those solutions. Design Thinking is a creative process developed by Stanford University that intentionally seeks out people with different perspectives, knowledge, skills and experience and has them work together to create a practical solution for a real-world problem. Transportation students were asked to use the process to explore what an ideal green vehicle would look like. Arts students were challenged to create a campaign that emphasized environmental sustainability. Business students sought ways restaurants could shrink their environmental footprint. 

The results were impressive. Transportation students brainstormed about innovative electric cars wrapped entirely in space-aged solar panels with batteries on the hood, doors, roof and trunk. Sports students made models of environmentally sustainable recreation centres complete with trampoline parks that would generate energy and reduce lighting costs. 

At the end of the day, students presented design models to local experts who offered feedback. A municipal planner visited the Business workshop and critiqued proposals for onsite, indoor gardens to supply hosting restaurants. Growing vegetables on site would reduce fuel consumption associated with imports. An expert mechanic evaluated students’ ideas for green vehicles and discussed the state and effectiveness of hybrid and electric cars. 

Grade 11 student Caleb Marshall said the conference was helpful because it made him realize the impact we are having on our environment. 

“It really put into perspective how much waste our cars generate,” he said after attending the transportation workshop. “We watched a video that said thousands of people die in the US every year because of the pollution cars put out.” 

For more information, please call: 

Elijah Funston
Perth and District Collegiate Institute

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