By MELANIE MONROY, Student published for UB
Release date: October 13, 2020
UB Sustainability successfully held their Summer 2020: Virtual Adventures! For eight weeks, students entering 3rd - 6th grade participated in summer camp projects and engaged in weekly debriefing sessions.
In July 2019, UB Sustainability hosted a weeklong summer camp for 6-8th graders where the students had the opportunity to experience sustainable research and programs on UB’s campus. This year, plans had to adapt if this summer camp was to be held again. The summer camp went virtual and was spread out across six weeks of “adventures” that the students had to complete.
Student assistants, Allison DeMaria and Adrian Denner, engaged about 30 children through weekly Zoom sessions. The curriculum included science-related projects, discussions on their results, and interactive quizzes to see what they had learned. Each week, “campers” were assigned an activity that ranged from testing air quality, cooking with solar energy, and building a windmill, landfill, and biodome. Nessa, a motivated student in the camp, reflects on some of her favorite activities:
“The reason I liked the solar oven activity was because it was cool seeing how you can use the sun as an oven — and also, we got to eat the s’mores! I also learned a little more about how windmills work, including that the blades have to be at an angle in order to catch the wind.”
Undoubtedly, youth are in the forefront of future innovation and will lead in shaping the future of our planet. The virtual summer camp played a role in revealing rising generations to the prevalent issues in the environment. For instance Preveen, another highly engaged student, found that “learning about landfills and biodomes was really interesting. I did not know that there are garbage dumps in the ocean— and the biggest is called the great pacific garbage patch.” Nonetheless he identified that “this is not good for sea life and we need to find ways to clean it up… but it would be cool to live in a biosphere on the moon or on mars.”
Although scientific advancements are not quite there yet, at least the youth are beginning to reimagine these possibilities. Intergenerational equity is a core concept in the Sustainable Development Goals, adopted by the United Nations. The UN strives to implement universal action to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure peace and prosperity by 2030. In order to uphold these values, it is critical for UB’s continued collaboration with the community— even remotely.
Sustainable Development Goals:
4. Quality education
10. Reduced inequalities
13. Climate action