It started out as colourful words on a page as we gathered around a table. Three words, “engage, inspire, empower”, were written in green and became the foundation of the Global Responsibility Conference.
When we started planning our ideal conference last June, the date we had set, November 25, seemed far in the distance. However, as we arrived back to school after a restful summer, the weeks flew by in a blur. Soon, thoughts and suggestions became realities, as the planning team discussed workshop presenters and themes that connect with global responsibility. Our main goal was to create a conference that taught student participants about a range of different ideas like local and global aspects, politics, humanitarian service, leadership, and the environment. Being a part of a diverse world and school community, it was important that we gathered interests to include everyone.
After being chosen to attend the Canadian Accredited Independent Schools Leadership Conference in Calgary last year, I saw the impact that a conference can have on individuals. Therefore, planning a conference to educate and inspire students locally is a passion that was implemented through the Global Responsibility Conference. Although each person can make a significant impact on the world, I believe that it is the collective effort and ideas from many individuals that can create an even greater positive change.
When thinking about a leader, perhaps it is the person with the best ideas and the confident persona; however, conferences are a way to inspire all individuals by bringing students together to work and listen to each other. The many workshops provided a wide range of topics and a more personal setting where the quieter voice had a chance to be heard.
When the Royal Bank of Canada asked me to participate in the #Make150Count initiative, I knew I would put the $150 donation towards the Global Responsibility Conference. As we decided on workshop themes and spoke about the importance of educating students about local and global problems, I realized how the cost of registration could be a barrier for some students who would want to attend the conference. Therefore, I used the $150 so that some students had the ability to attend the conference regardless of their financial situations. After Mr. Geddes matched RBC’s donation, I was able to invite even more of these students to the conference.
On the day of the conference, we arrived at school greeted by the meager light of the early morning. We had watched as the numbers of students who registered climbed steadily up to 100 participants. After arranging last-minute details, students flooded to the Chapel where they gathered their folders and conference shirts.
As I looked around the Chapel that had been transformed into a dining hall, I was excited to see a room full of green shirts eager to learn and start implementing their ideas to create meaningful change in the world. In the first keynote address by Stacey Toews, we learned reasons why global responsibility is crucial for humans. A surprising fact is that the weight of plastic in the ocean will eventually be the same as the weight of fish in the ocean; by 2050, there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean. The workshop themes included sustainable development goals, media, political simulations, solutions for clean water, and global health.
From planning the conference to the fine details of food and set up, many people and organizations assisted us in the success of the conference. The Global Responsibility Planning Team would like to thank Mrs. Davel for her continuous support, leadership, and organization. As we re-stacked the chairs in their definitive positions for Chapel, the Global Responsibility Conference stood as a metaphor to the quote by John Heywood that states “many hands make light work.”