NWC's Greener Tomorrow Campaign gives Students Chance of a Lifetime
The world is constantly changing around us. Whether be the latest fashion trend or serious environmental issues, most of these changes impact each and every one of us in one way or another. For the people and wildlife of the north, there are vast arrays of issues that scientists are now discovering that may alter the way the world lives today.
Scientists from all over the world gathered this past April at the International Polar Conference (IPY) in Montreal to share ideas and discoveries they have made about the Arctic. IPY brings together over 2,000 Arctic and Antarctic researchers, policy- and decision-makers, and a broad range of interested parties from academia, industry, non-government, education and circumpolar communities including indigenous peoples. The IPY 2012 Conference contributes to the translation of new polar scientific findings into an evidence-based agenda for action that will influence global decisions, policies and outcomes over the coming years. Of the many brilliant minds in attendance were students Tom Williamson, Sammy Angnaluak and Sileema Angoyuak from Nunavut Arctic College.
The three students formed the IPY Student Ambassadors. Headed up by Project Manager Tom Williamson, the students were asked to prepare a 12 minute presentation about four topics concerning the findings in the arctic ecosystem.
Attending the IPY was the chance of a lifetime for the students, but paying for the trip became quite the speed bump.
“We sent many letters out and at first; it looked as though it would be to no avail. After hearing no a few times our focus shifted to raising funds alternatively.” said Williamson.
The group decided to apply for a grant from Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (AANDC). Luckily AANDC footed 2/3 of the bill. This still left a significant portion of funds to be raised, but that is when North Mart stepped in, a division of The North West Company.
As a part of NWC’s Greener Tomorrow campaign North Mart donated enough money to cover the remaining costs for the trip, making the students dreams a reality.
“North Mart ended up being just enough to cover my flight, accommodation, registration, and a paltry per diem for the three of us.” said Williamson.
Greener Tomorrow is an initiative encouraging residents to shop with re-usable bags by charging a 25 cent fee per plastic bag. All funds collected from the surcharge go towards community based environmental initiatives such as community cleanup events.
The presentation was a whirlwind that the three students would never forget.
“When we were done our presentation we got many compliments from all the people in the presentation.” said Angnaluak.
The entire experience was once they can rave to their grandchildren about.
“I met many scientists and also got great information on what is happening in the northern hemisphere of the world. All of this will help me in the future with my work as an environmental technician.” raved Angnaluak.
“To have the chance to surround oneself with 2500 other people for a week, from all over the world who share interests in all things in our backyard was special to say the least. To speak and be heard by all who attended our presentation was powering as well.” said Williamson.