Youth working for the environment
The Green Planet Club (GPC) at Independent University (IUB) has the vision to ensure a clean, healthy and safe environment to support sustainable development. At GPC, we strive to encourage and promote environmental awareness and leadership among students by arranging a wide range of activities.
We make differences by fostering collaboration with the wider community and cultivating relationships with organizations having a similar purpose. Since its formation in 2013, the club has been working to achieve just that and more.
In 2017, GPC arranged the Green Genius (GG). It was an intra-university talent hunt with the theme of making IUB a sustainable institution. The talent hunt was immensely popular and became a primary event for the Club. Green Genius Season 2 was launched at the beginning of the spring 2019 semester, after months of meticulous planning.
The objective of GG Season 2 was to come up with an innovative environmental solution for the community, by the students. The involvement of the community, as a primary stakeholder for the solution of even simple environmental problems around us, is an approach that has been widely recognized and accepted. Therefore, GPC aimed to involve bright youth to help our country.
We hoped to become a platform for those young minds as they struggled to voice their creative ideas. The youth of today is the force for tomorrow, and it is utmost important to not only hear their voices but also to motivate them, to bring more positive transformations around us.
GG Season 2 was designed to be conducted in two categories: school/college and university. This made the entire process more inclusive and engaging. In addition, every aspect of the environment was open for participation, divided for ease into 8 broad themes.
Entries were open for individual participation, so as to encourage more originality. After an initial social media campaign, dedicated club members took it upon themselves to conduct road campaigns across the city.
There were multiple teams going to schools, colleges, and universities, not only promoting the event but also facilitating the entry process for interested participants. Hundreds of leaflets and posters were put up across the many campuses visited and the members were tirelessly answering phone queries and emails. The overall response was very encouraging. Eager students from the schools motivated the club members by their interest particularly. Not one but many “Green Genius” was amongst us all along!
After the initial submission of idea abstracts online, the critical task of shortlisting started. With over 300 applications from 40 schools, 15 colleges and 25 universities nation-wide, the members were faced with the huge responsibility of a fair judgment for all.
The amazing panels of screening judges were respected senior faculty members and professors from IUB. These judges checked and re-checked the scripts and provided their valuable feedbacks. The quality of the incoming ideas was ingenious and it made the entire process more difficult. A total of 40 students from the school/college category and 35 from the university category were finalized to be invited for the next round of the competition.
The abstracts submitted had to be presented in front of an expert panel of judges and GPC conducted a grooming session for the finalists for that purpose. The objective was to help the participants to understand the criteria for the judgment and to enhance their basic presentation skills.
Alongside the club members, GPC collaborated with experts from the International Centre for Climate Change and Development (ICCCAD) to provide their insight. The session helped the participants understand their requirements and proved as an ice-breaking session as they met the club members and interacted with them. In addition, individual groomers were assigned to every participant to act as mentors throughout the succeeding phase, as they prepared their posters for presentations.
GPC invited judges for the final round from various fields of environmental expertise to cover the themes of the competition. There were experts from the field of conservation, adaptation, development, and planning, gender and migration. The symposium was scheduled over two days, one for the school/college category and the other for the university.
GPC members and volunteers worked tirelessly, till after hours, to decorate and plan every detail for the successful execution of the event. The venue for the event was at IUB and for the décor, everything was handmade by the volunteers and recycled items were preferably used. The end result was subtle yet thought-provoking display of the themes of Green Genius Season 2 itself.
The symposium round was a display of the colourful and detailed posters and elaborate presentations of the innovative ideas the students had submitted. There were models with micro details to deliver better and the entire hall was buzzing with excitement. The judges were pleasantly surprised with the outcomes and highly appreciative of the students’ efforts. It was heart-warming to see the enthusiasm of not only the students but the entire School of Environmental Science and Management (SESM) at IUB.
The prize-giving ceremony for the event was a much-awaited affair with the Chief Guest being the pioneer in sustainable agricultural development, Shykh Seraj. A total sum of 1 Lakh Taka was distributed amongst the categories. The winners for the competition were Fairooz Samia from South Breeze School in the school/college category and Tahsin Rahman from Independent University Bangladesh in the university category.
Their ideas were “recycling plant where plastic eating bacteria will produce energy” and “recycling of cigarette filters” respectively. The runners-up had ideas that covered transportation efficiency, low costing microbial treatment plant, producing printing ink from waste fruit peels and converting garbage bacteria to electron banks. A special mention category was also included for the schools to acknowledge the amazing response from the students.
Shykh Seraj was deeply moved by the efforts of GPC to bring invaluable ideas from the youth of Bangladesh and extended his support to the Club for future ventures, with his organization. The closing ceremony was followed by a celebratory musical night with various popular band performances at IUB.
Green Genius Season 2 provided a platform for environmentalists in-training to think about practical solutions to our vulnerability. It raised awareness on various issues around us and initiated many thought-provoking discussions. Many students came forward with astounding ideas that if applied would be the answer to many of our problems today. It proved once again that we, as the future of our nation, are environmentally conscious and able to stand up and take appropriate actions.
GPC is deeply grateful to its much-adored coordinator, Md Ekhtekharul Islam, for his continuous support, guidance, and energy to make this event possible, and our dedicated members who make the Club’s vision their own. Green Genius Season 2 is not the end, it is just the beginning!
To know more about the Club and its activities visit us at- facebook.com/gpciub/
Sobiya Aziz Badat is a student of Environmental Science at IUB and an Executive Body member of Green Planet Club.