Schools in Action
Sisler High School
The annual Sisler Sustainability Conference has been running for more than five years and over the years has become almost 100% student planned, led, and executed. There is a core group of 8 planners (who contribute the greatest amount of time), 8 others who help the day before and day of with the execution and goffering. There were 70 students who attended (30 from outside of Sisler High), as well as speakers from the Manitoba Council for International Cooperation, EcoNetwork, and other green organizations from around Winnipeg. Tall Grass Prairie Bakery catered their morning snack and the lunch was provided by Diversity Foods.
When asked what Sisler High School had learned through its Sustianability Conference that other schools could use if they wished to carry out a similar initiative, Lauren Sawchuk, a teacher at Sisler High School, gave us the following advice:
“Get a strong group of students who are passionate about the cause so that they fully commit to the project. It does get very busy at points and so team commitment is imperative. Also, be willing to try new things. We were nervous about asking for participants from other schools, seeing as all the previous years it had just been Sisler students. Although it was a lot of extra work seeking out teachers/students, and we were not sure how it would turn out, we believe the chance was well worth it. Having new ideas, people, etc. was an amazing experience and really influenced how well the event went.“
École J. B. Mitchell School
Some students from J. B. Mitchell School formed a Fair Trade Baking Club. Each month they choose and research a fair trade ingredient. They select a recipe to showcase the feature ingredient. The students were awarded a grant from the Winnipeg School Division to cover the cost of the ingredients and materials needed for each recipe throughout the year. Fortunately, that allows them to donate all monies raised during their recess bake sales to an organization that supports fair trade initiatives. A new organization is selected each month along with a new ingredient. It took a couple of weeks to plan and execute the baking club. The adults and students worked together during the school day to ensure the planning and execution of a meaningful and successful project. It is an ongoing project that the students work on each month and will continue to work on until the end of the school year. They used what they learned from the fair trade workshop as well as information related to fair trade from the MCIC and Fair Trade Manitoba/Canada websites. They also applied for and were awarded a grant from the school division to cover the cost associated with running the club.
Warren Collegiate rented MCIC’s Ethical Fashion Show kit in order to promote Fair Trade products within the school. In addition, the school invited many people from the community to come out to see the fashion show and try some homemade Fair Trade goodies which consisted of hot chocolate, iced tea, coffee, cupcakes and chocolate. All of the ingredients for the Fair Trade goodies had been purchased at the MCIC office. The school found out about MCIC’s Ethical Fashion Show Kit after seeing it on the Generating Momentum website, and the students were really excited about having a fashion show to promote Fair Trade, so they wanted to rent it.
Springfield Middle School
The Peer Mentor Group at Springfield Middle School is comprised of 39 Grade 6, 7 and 8 students. The group decided to deliver a Fair Trade Awareness Symposium in November 2011 to educate the entire school about eight major Fair Trade Principles. The Peer Mentor Group defined the eight major Fair Trade principles as creating jobs; caring for the environment; capacity building; paying a fair price; empowering women and children; creating sustainable and longterm trading relationships; providing safe working conditions and education. The group set up eight stations, each looked after by members of the Peer Mentor Group and each dedicated to one of the eight principles. At each station, the students would give a brief explanation, highlight an example and play an brief, interactive activity to explain the principle. There were also draws throughout the morning for items purchased at Ten Thousand Villages.
Neepawa Area Collegiate Institute
After attending MCIC’s Generating Momentum for Our World: Boys and Girls in the Global Classroom conference in Strathclair in 2011, students at NACI decided to form a Global Action Group, with the focus for their first year being ‘Water’. First, the Global Action Group made PowerPoint presentations to all the grade 7 and 8 students about what they had researched and learned about the issue of water. Once they completed the educational component, they fundraised. Two examples of fundraising were a collaboration with the art teacher to make globe keychains made out of clay, as well as a bake sale at the school. In total, they raised over $700, all of which they donated to Ryan’s Well. This year the group has grown to include the entire school, so instead of it being just a middle school initiative, it’s now Grades 7-12 and has changed it name to from the Global Action Group to HOPE (Helping Our World achieve Equality).