- Stories of Students
Read an article by our second year student Rachel Huang (Taiwan, UWCD'21) on environmental Focus Day at UWCD.
When corporations and politicians fail us, we must take the mantle to make a change, especially as UWC students. In response to the rampant climate change and pollution that plague our world, the Sustainability Committee collaborated with several CAS experiences to organize an Environmental Focus Day. CASes like Let’s Talk, which usually organizes weekly forum discussions on polarizing or difficult topics, held a facilitated discussion in Jubilee’s Middle Ground style on personal and the school’s sustainable practices. Next to it, you could walk around an art exhibition, displaying various art pieces inspired by the environment, as well as presentations and quizzes on sustainability.
As founder and leader of Psych!Art, focused on using art as a creative force for improving mental health, I was immediately intrigued by the idea of having an Environmental Focus Day. All too often do we find ourselves talking about sustainability abstractly only without taking action; Psych!Art incorporated a hands-on approach to sustainability. In the Visual Arts Studio, we organized a station for making art pieces out of recycled materials, such as plastic bottles, jars, or wooden scraps. Thanks to Upcycling, who collected recycled items from all over the school, we were able to gather these materials a day before and allow students to transform old unwanted waste into beautiful creations, breathing new life into old items. Members of Psych!Art congregated in the VA studio and made some beautiful Christmas decorations or gifts for their Secret Santa buddy with just acrylic paint and their infinite imagination that knows no bounds.
It was truly a UWC moment to see students painting their own sustainability goals on rocks, making posters, discussing vigorously downstairs in the Atrium, and swapping clothes in the Student Cafe. It was “UWC” in that SustCo and all the other CASes came together to take initiative. It was “UWC” in that students and staff from our community supported our effort and participated in the activities with fervor and enthusiasm. It was “UWC” in that it was the last week of school, just a few days before winter break started, yet we still seized this limited time to make the most out of it. For lack of a better word, we were all changemakers. After all, change starts first with yourself, then the community, then the world.
I am honored to have participated in organizing this Focus Day with such passionate students. It was a lot of hard work, with weeks of planning involved, but it was all worth it in the end to see how it has impacted others. Students went back to the residences with their art projects, their swapped clothes, and hopefully a new perspective on sustainability, and isn’t that what UWC is all about?
Many thanks to Sustainability Committee, Let’s Talk, Upcycling, and every student who helped out or participated