Last October, a team of six SCS students travelled to the University of Toronto to participate in The Global Ideas Institute. The Institute, an initiative of the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy, offers Toronto high school students in Grades 11 and 12 the opportunity to tackle a real-world problem and present a possible solution. This year’s challenge topic was Plastic Waste Management.
Accompanied by teams from almost 30 other area schools, the SCS team of Victoria Brown, Karen Zhuang (both ’19), Emma Lovsin, Kailin Chu, Avery Kelterborn, and Stefanie Ford (all ’20), attended monthly lectures by U of T professors and other experts. With the assistance of graduate student mentors and the provision of research materials by the Institute, the SCS team aimed to develop a solution for one of the most challenging environmental problems in the world today.
The St. Clement’s team chose as their particular focus the accumulation of plastic waste in the School and in North Toronto in general and presented their solution at the day-long Final Symposium which took place in late April.
The Clementines were required to create a one-minute pitch video, a five-minute presentation, and a poster to explain their chosen focus, outline their solution, and to share their process.
Their solution to the over-reliance on plastic food and drink containers involved an effort to better manage, reduce, and even eliminate single-use plastics at SCS through education, incentivization, the creation of a community-specific App, and the promotion of plastic alternatives including travel mugs and reusable straws.
Over the course of a five-year timeline, the team proposed to not only implement the program and develop the App, but also to attempt to customize it and implement it for other GTA schools before finally expanding it to schools across the country.
Upon their return to St. Clement’s, the team outlined their plan at assembly during Earth Week in the first step of an effort designed to improve the School’s recycling efficiency.