During this school year, our Concordia slogan has been “Wear Love." Perhaps we do that best when we serve others and attempt to make our world a better place.
Concordia recently held its first ever Service Celebration to showcase and applaud the efforts of student and teacher changemakers. Twelve powerful projects were highlighted at the event, and it was a wonderful way to recognize community members who are truly making a difference in our community.
All students from the high school Applied Global Development and Public Health course (AGDAPH), taught by Kathleen Mahoney from the Concordia math department and LeeAnne Lavender from the Concordia English department, presented projects at the event. These students have been working all semester on projects they designed and executed, projects range from environmental initiatives to raising awareness about girls’ health issues. A full list of projects can be found below.
In addition, the high school Social Entrepreneurship course was represented by teacher Anne Love and two students. Their Third Culture Coffee project - featuring a partnership with Yunnan coffee farmers in an aim to support direct source, fair trade practices and foster principles of corporate social responsibility – is in its fourth year and is a great example of service learning in the curriculum.
Concordia's grade four team (kudos to teachers Michele Turner, Kristy Godbout, Jen Muir, April Reyes, Doug Gribble and coach Ryan Maney) presented two projects at the Service Celebration. For several years in grade four, students have participated in a microfinance unit called One Hen because it is based on the book by the same name written by Katie Smith Milway. They have raised $18,925 since 2009 for Kiva microfinance loans. This amount represents money donated for micro loans and money that was repaid from loanees and then redistributed. In total, the grade 4 program has resulted in 626 loans supporting people in 65 different countries. As well, the fourth grade Eco-Warriors have spearheaded an innovative composting project this year at Concordia. Working collaboratively, the team has reduced food waste from the elementary lunches by about 50 percent through awareness campaigns about mindful eating. New food waste numbers are weighing in at about 15 kg of food waste per day as compared to earlier measurements of 30 kg per day. The food waste is no longer thrown in the trash but is converted into rich compost through a Bokashi anaerobic composting system; compost produced from this system is then donated to 500 Jia, a local organic farm on Chongming Island.
Three fantastic high school students, Patrick R., Claire H. and Evelyn S., shared their Xiaohusai Tea Project. These students are working entirely on their own, intrinsically motivated to improve the lives of tea farmers in Yunnan by partnering in a direct-source, fair-trade fashion with farmers. Revenue from tea sales is used to directly fund school fees and alleviate debt for some farmers. The students have an ongoing partnership with a small community in western China and travel there independently in the summer to meet with leaders and continue building a sustainable plan for the project. They are true changemakers as they embody the principles of global citizenship.
Two additional projects were also showcased during the Service Celebration. The Global Issues Network club’s Rethink Your Drink campaign focused on the two-year process to eliminate the sale of single-use plastic bottles from the Concordia campus. They continue to educate the community about the dangers of single-use plastic. Also on hand was teacher Brian Lavender who represented the new community journalism platform, citizen.c. This site stimulates dialogue and engagement across a range of issues while uniting the Concordia community in a positive virtual forum.
Applied Global Development and Public Health projects:
Maggie, Kayleigh and Blake: a study of water quality in our Concordia community and the creation of a website to provide information and advice about safe water practices
Megan: greening transportation at Concordia (a partnership with the Concordia Operations Team to use more electric busses, reduce idling, reduce bussing for student trips and replace bussing with subway usage for Shanghai student trips)
KyuWon, Karen, Emily and Harper: the Lily Project, a campaign designed to raise awareness of health and body image issues for middle and high school girls at Concordia
Caiti and Everett: reducing plastic usage at Concordia (a campaign to replace large garbage bins in all high school classrooms with small bins required no plastic liner as well as to raise awareness about the environmental disaster of single-use plastics)
Kelsea, Chloe, Ivy and Isabella: a community partnership project with the Baobei Foundation and a local migrant school (providing medical packs to the migrant school and creating an adoption video for Baobei)