UWC CSC students team won the CLIMATHON

Climathon is a global movement that unites people, groups, and communities to use creativity and teamwork to address the urgent problems caused by climate change. In the spirit of a hackathon, participants collaborate to create original projects and solutions to address regional climate issues. In December, a number of students and teachers who are part of the UWC CSC Sustainability Council attended the 8th annual Climathon Suzhou held at  Xi’an Jiatong-Liverpool University. During the event, students and teachers collaborated with other schools including IBSS, the XJTLU Design School, the School of Humanities and Social Sciences and the School of Languages to develop creative and meaningful solutions for single-use plastics.


The day kickstarted with a talk from different speakers, including Dr Ellen Touchstone who has been participating in Climathon Suzhou since its inception 8 years ago. The speakers spoke about their sustainability journeys and their experience participating in previous Climathons. They introduced innovative ways to tackle the issue of microplastics, from eco-bricks, sustainable diets and personal life choices that drive and motivate people to live more sustainably. After the presentations participants convened for a low-carbon lunch, devoid of single-use plastics, inspiring people to embrace an eco-friendly lifestyle by demonstrating sustainable alternatives.


Group conversations about potential solutions to the single-use plastic issue took place during the afternoon session to create practical strategies, participants collaborated, exchanged insights, and generated ideas. During this time groups worked with their mentors to create a poster, summary, or visualization of their proposed solution to deal with microplastics. A well-deserved tea break was offered following a productive brainstorming session, giving participants a chance to relax and connect with like-minded individuals.


Following this, there was a round of presentations focused on solution-sharing. Participants presented their suggested fixes, showcasing their originality and usefulness. Every participant was able to express their ideas. Applause and gratitude were shown for the presentations as it became more and more clear that everyone was working together to fight single-use plastics.


Participants anxiously anticipated hearing the winners’ names as the competition came to an end. During the selection process, judges carefully considered the viability, significance, and originality of each proposed solution. The winners were declared, and their prizes were given out. As participants received recognition for their commitment and diligence, the atmosphere was one of excitement and accomplishment. The winners’ announcement acted as a wake-up call to the group’s ability to affect change and encourage others to do the same.


“Bamboo’s amazing qualities made it stand out to me as a great substitute. It is a rapidly expanding, renewable resource that doesn’t need much water or pesticides to flourish. Because of its extraordinary strength and durability, it can be used for a variety of packaging applications. Bamboo does not contribute to long-term environmental pollution because it is also compostable and biodegradable. I believe it could drastically lessen the need for single-use plastics and transform package packaging,” said Calista, a member of the winning group.

“We are ecstatic and grateful to have won the Climathon competition. Seeing the judges and my peers acknowledge and validate our idea is immensely satisfying. Winning this competition has strengthened my conviction that coming up with creative solutions to environmental problems is crucial. It has also given me a platform to spread the word about the benefits of bamboo packaging and encourage people to look into more environmentally friendly options. I’m inspired and driven to keep pushing for a more sustainable future and fighting single-use plastics.”

A low-carbon dinner free of single-use plastics was held as a sustainable way to wrap up the event. While enjoying a delectable meal, participants conversed about the lessons learned and the next actions that need to be taken in the fight against plastic pollution.

The groups’ solutions will be submitted to the Global Climathon organization for judging at the global competition.  The Climathon Suzhou event gave CSC and other participants a great opportunity to work together, share ideas, and come up with creative ways to fight single-use plastics. It acted as a potent reminder that even modest actions by people and groups can have a big impact on the environment. Participants departed the event with a renewed sense of purpose, useful knowledge, and a dedication to creating a future free of plastic. In addition to making a significant contribution to the ongoing global effort to combat plastic waste, has set an inspiring example for other educational institutions and communities by actively participating in Climathon Suzhou. The occasion acted as an engine for transformation, giving the younger generation the confidence to take responsibility for their environmental impact and work towards a more sustainable world.


Author: Karolina Grigoryans


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