Sarah Gonsier_1's blog | Net Impact

Sarah Gonsier_1's blog

Get focused to get results: 3 Steps to your dream job at NI18

Many of you are getting ramped up to attend Net Impact’s annual conference this autumn. You may also be considering launching or shifting your careers in the impact sector. We all want the job search process to be easy. We want to just be able to hop on the web, look at the job boards, find a job that looks interesting, apply to it, land the interview and, most importantly, get the job offer. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way
Before the conference, here are 3 things for you to prepare:
Most impact job seekers want to make a difference. But what does that difference, or that impact, really look like to you?  

1) Get specific about your passions - Think about this by peeling the sustainability onion: the top layers are the global versus local contexts you need to choose from; the middle layers are the sector (NGO, public or private) and industry (consumer goods, financial services, oil and gas); the inner layer is around your role and function and defines which skills you’ll use (analysis, research, reporting, communications); and at the core is your issues expertise — knowledge of waste, human rights, natural capital, water, life cycle analysis and so forth. Based on your answers you’ll know exactly which sessions are best for you to attend!

You are unique. Your uniqueness and authenticity need to shine through in your brand story and across your personal marketing materials

2) Give me the gist – Craft your elevator pitch! The new secret jobs market insists that you take the time to craft your memorable, original intro now – to save yourself later. Don’t fall into the trap of making your answer to “What do you do?” too short with just a title and company name. That is boring!  You have to bring it to life, tell a story, and take the whole 30 seconds. Don’t sell yourself short by keeping it too short. 

3) Update Linkedin - Did you know that 97% of human resources and staffing professionals use LinkedIn to search for candidates and that 77% of all job openings are posted there? Making the most of your profile with this Linkedin guide will be one of the best investments you’ll make in your job search and ongoing career and network development. As you network at the conference you can be confident that anyone viewing your profile is seeing the best you. 

Ready for more? Join me at the NI18 conference on Saturday, 27th October (10:40am room 125A!) for a deeper dive into positioning yourself for your dream role and to: 
  • Unpack the employment landscape from a recruiter’s perspective, 
  • Try out the “peeling the onion” tool to get focused and get results, 
  • Be immersed in a skills-mapping so you know what you are “selling” 
We will also look at cutting-edge trends in the marketplace and illuminate productive next steps toward your career goals, whether you are just starting out or an experienced professional looking to make a shift.
See you soon!

Do you have ideas that will #makethefuture?

Net Impact welcomes Shell as a sponsor of the 2018 Net Impact Conference in Phoenix, AZ October 25-27th. 

There’s a possible but challenging pathway for society to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement, according to Shell’s recently published Sky Scenario, but it will require many more of us to choose low-carbon, high-efficiency ways to meet our energy needs. 

So, how can you help drive this important transition across the world? What game-changer, in the form of policy, technology or social trend, do you think would incentivize that shift and significantly contribute to the rate at which society moves through the energy transition? 

Join Shell at NI18 to help us all move towards more and cleaner energy. 

The Energy Transition Game

Developed by Shell’s Scenarios group in 2016, this simulation exercise puts you in the shoes of a government, consumer, energy provider, NGO or industry. Your challenge is to keep your world’s economy going while making the energy transition. 

Time will be of the essence. You will be faced with dilemmas: should you prioritize your short-term individual objective or invest for the common objective? Will your fellow players enable or default you? Can you rely on their commitments? 

The Energy Transition Game allows players to experience hands-on some of the dilemmas, issues and opportunities the world may encounter as energy transitions unfold across the globe over the coming decades. It also offers a concluding debrief to let players reflect on the scenario they have collectively played out, as well as explore what alternative worlds they could have created. 

The Future of Energy Challenge

Launched in 2017, the Challenge is an opportunity for Net Impact Members to develop new and innovative solutions to energy challenges together with experts in the energy industry. Participants may choose one of multiple problem statements, curated by Shell’s New Energies Research and Technology group, allowing teams to address important challenges in the areas of energy storage, energy delivery, energy generation, and the broader energy transition. 

Shell has been innovating for more than a century to produce energy in more efficient, reliable and sustainable ways – and we’re always looking for big ideas! Your team’s idea might concentrate on the role of technology as a key lever in driving change, others may focus on systems that are needed to meet a challenge – like new or evolving infrastructure – while another option may be to hone-in on changing consumer behavior. 

Last year’s Future of Energy Challenge winners and finalists from Texas State University, Johns Hopkins University and Duke University won passes to participate in Powering Progress Together and Make the Future California 2018 and meet with civil society members who are leading the conversation and action around the Energy Transition. 

This year’s finalists will also have a chance to grow their solution concepts into market-ready proposals at a 2-day accelerator in the spring of 2019 in California. 

Visit Shell at NI18 to learn more about the Challenge

Learn more about Shell’s energy transition work at the 2018 Net Impact Conference. 

Net Impact Conference Perspective: Undergraduate Student Amberlyn Saw

Hear from undergraduate student Amberlyn Saw, a senior at UC Berkeley, about why she is attending the 2018 Net Impact Conference for the first time this fall.

With the 2018 Net Impact Conference (NI18) drawing closer, it is exciting to see more of the program being released each day. The volume and variety of the sessions and speakers are sure to appeal to every attendee, whether undergraduate or graduate student, or working professional.

Every year, the conference draws a diverse crowd of students and professionals from all over the world. This year, the conference is poised to host the largest population of undergraduate students in its history. Net Impact sat down with Amberlyn Saw to get her take on why the conference is, more than ever, a great opportunity for undergraduate students.

Amberlyn had the opportunity to see NI18 from the other side this summer, as she worked as a Summer Fellow at Net Impact. She just entered her senior year at UC Berkeley, where she is studying Business Administration and Molecular Environmental Biology. This will be her first year attending the conference, so Net Impact sat down with her to hear what she is most looking forward to at the conference this October.

1. What are you most looking forward to at this year’s Net Impact Conference?

I am excited to meet people from all over the world who are passionate about social impact. I remember talking with [my summer fellowship supervisor] about the kinds of people who come to the conference, and she told me that this is the moment you realize how many people internationally have had their lives changed because of their experience with Net Impact. That is something really cool to realize.

2. Who are you most looking forward to seeing speak?

Harley Dubois, who is with Burning Man, mostly because we actually had another Burning Man founder come to UC Berkeley and talk about what Burning Man was doing to be more environmentally friendly. They also talked about giving scholarships to people with low income so they could experience it. I have always wanted to go to Burning Man.

3. Which topics are you specifically looking forward to learning more about?

I am really interested in learning more about what companies are doing around climate change. I want to learn what organizations around the world are doing to address it and, as a student, what I could do to get more involved in that movement. I am really interested in hearing more about ways that companies are mitigating their negative impact on the world and how they are taking extra measures to make sure that anything that they do does not have harmful, unintended consequences.

4. What made you want to attend the conference for the first time?

Hearing other people’s feelings about it. I remember throughout the fellowship hearing from people who said it was a life-changing event. 

5. Why do you think the conference is a beneficial opportunity for undergraduate students?

I think it is really beneficial because a lot of the conference attendees are graduate students and professionals, so it is a really great opportunity to expose yourself to careers in the social impact space. Since there is going to be such a variety of backgrounds, I think it is a great learning experience. You might find something that you are really passionate about or meet people who could be your mentors.

6. What would you say to someone who is considering attending the conference this year?

I think that if they have the means and the feasibility to do it, they definitely should, especially if they are really passionate about social impact. It is only once a year and there is no event like the Net Impact Conference because the Net Impact community is so strong and vast. Missing out would be so sad! I think everyone should go.

Join Amberlyn this October 25-27 for an unforgettable weekend in Phoenix. Register today for the 2018 Net Impact Conference before prices go up on October 16!

Learn more here about the 2018 Net Impact Conference and direct any questions to

"I want a career in sustainability" may not be the right approach

Net Impact is proud to welcome Dell as a sponsor of the upcoming 2018 Net Impact Conference

If you’re reading this blog, I assume that you have an interest in sustainability.  You’re an up-and-coming leader involved with Net Impact and have a heightened appreciation for the environment.  You not only want to reduce the negative impacts of global climate change, the loss of natural resources, and the impacts of industrialization, but you also want to improve the conditions of workers, biosystems, and their communities.  And to make the biggest impact, you have to work in sustainability, right?  The reality is not so black and white.  

In corporate sustainability at Dell, I do have the ability to make a difference.  But I sometimes think to myself “what kind of impact am I really having?”  Yes, I support the global sustainability strategy, and through our policies and engagement we rally the team around specific themes and material issues. But a policy by itself is just a statement of ideals and practices. It is up to those networked team members in supply chain management, product design, sales and marketing, finance, and elsewhere to take those practices and make them real.  It is only through an integrated sustainability practice with dedicated diverse leaders that we turn policy into measurable results. As a sustainability professional, we cannot make an impact without sustainability advocates in all aspects of the business.  Therefore I propose that the place an individual can make the biggest impact is an area that does not have a strong sustainability presence that you can bring sustainability into.

So does this mean that you shouldn’t take a job in sustainability? Not at all. If you’re interested in strategy, policy, engagement, reporting, and goal definition, and you have the opportunity, go for it!  But don’t let that limit your approach.  If you see a job in supply chain management and want to work with suppliers in other countries, go for it!  And when you take that job, look at ways of increasing the sustainability of your suppliers through policies, audits, training and engagement.  

This opens up the question of what companies you should apply to.  First, consider a company and industry that you feel good working for.  You can make an impact in a fossil fuel company (for example), but ask yourself if that’s an industry you can work in.  Second, does the company embrace sustainability?  Do they have a noticeable sustainability presence via media, reporting, and other practices?  Consider engaging the company on social media or LinkedIn.  Do they rate high in the various sustainability rating systems?  Do they have actionable goals and engage with their suppliers, investors, and team members?  If they have a sustainability practice in place, it’s much easier to create a sustainability domain in your new role.  And when you land that final interview, open up and tell them about your passions.  You’re a leader, after all, and if the company recognizes that, they’ll make sure you have the resources you need to thrive.

Learn more about Dell's sustainability work during the 2018 Net Impact Conference.


Today more than ever, a fellowship is the right choice

We have learned that education and experience go hand in hand when it comes to building a competitive resume. And there is no doubt that the combination of the two makes for a well-rounded profile. But the trend seems to be changing. Just recently, some of the most important tech companies have pushed the envelope on their hiring and recruiting policies, giving past experience more weight than it ever had before. Although it is still part of their hiring considerations, Google, IBM and Apple no longer require a degree from their job applicants. Companies have begun focusing more on the candidate’s experience and skills rather than their college degree. This trend is evident not only in the tech industry but also in other related fields including the impact field.

The Net Impact Fellowship Program is one way in which to acquire this experiential learning while focusing on social and environmental impact. Every year a cohort of smart, passionate changemakers is selected to work on self-designed action projects in their community or in their campus. Selected fellows are invited to attend the annual Net Impact Conference, receive leadership training, mentorship from industry professionals, a project stipend, and access to impact-driven networks.

Fellows gain new perspectives and develop skills that will be useful in their personal and professional lives. Working for a bigger purpose alongside people who are also changemakers helps with your own development as a leader, having an entrepreneurial mindset and understanding how the world works. Whether looking for a job with impact or looking to make a career transition, experiential learning provides an effective way to grow the skills and professional networks that are so essential in the impact space. Fellowship programs are short-term leadership development opportunities that offer you the resources, support and professional networks that you might otherwise not obtain from a typical job or internship. Fellowships can be structured to provide Fellows with exposure to a particular type of work or allow Fellows to complete self-designed projects. Their main goal is for Fellows to build robust leadership and professional skills, and expand their professional networks to launch or boost their careers.

The Fellowship Program introduces a new generation of budding change-makers and offers invaluable networking opportunities to connect with other exceptional Fellows, professionals and industry mentors, some of whom are fellowship alumni themselves. Through these connections, a fellowship enables one to cultivate relationships that can lead to new opportunities.

At Net Impact, fellowships are a challenge to do something exceptional, and this year Net Impact Fellows will work across topics of food & nutrition, racial equity, climate change and impact investing & diversity. 

To learn more and submit an application, visit the program page here and apply for the specific cohort of interest. The application deadline is Monday, September 17th at 12:01 AM PST.

For an example of past Fellow projects, take a look here:

Food Fellowship Alumni Berenice Leung

Racial Equity Fellowship Alumni Charlie James

Three ways we’re making our food matter

Three focus areas are amplifying the legacies given to us by the founders of several of our brands.

General Mills is partnering with Net Impact for its NI18 Conference

Katie Forrest and Taylor Collins (co-founders of EPIC), Lara Merriken (founder of LÄRABAR), Annie Withey (founder of Annie’s) and Gene Kahn (founder of Cascadian Farm and Small Planet Foods) had different paths, personalities and philosophies.

However, they all shared a conviction – to be a rumble that shook the food system. Through their food, they all wanted to create something better for people and the planet. 

1. Big companies must take big actions to care for the land.

We recently announced that General Mills is backing the conversion of 34,000 acres of conventional farmland in South Dakota to become certified organic by 2020.

When the transition is complete, this will be one of the largest contiguous organic row crop farms in the U.S. and the largest of its kind in South Dakota. The organic wheat grown on this land will be used in our organic Annie’s Macaroni & Cheese. 

This project is a major milestone in the General Mills journey to bring more organic choices to consumers. And, it brings us closer to our public commitment to double the acreage of organic farmland we source from.

But, it’s about more than numbers. It’s about driving positive change for this planet we share. 

As the second largest portfolio of organic brands in the U.S., we know that General Mills can drive meaningful change through our supply chain. We are pushing to do that through the conversion of land to organic, the protection of pollinator habitats, the restoration of grasslands through holistic grazing practices, and the implementation of new programs to advance regenerative agriculture.

2. To do something big, sometimes you must start by doing something small. 

We recently also announced a small project for Sprouts with gigantic ambition: We are partnering with two innovative Montana farmers, Casey Bailey and Nate Powell-Palm to launch limited edition versions of our Annie’s Macaroni & Cheese and Honey Bunny Grahams.

The products represent a big innovation in the food industry. On each box we celebrate the specific farm, farmer, and regenerative farming practices that went into that very box. Together with Casey and Nate, we are going local by connecting specific farms and farmers to each box!

3. Deliver tangible mission, brand by brand. 

We are also very proud of EPIC’s partnership with the Savory Institute, to help create The Land to Market (L2M) program, which connects regenerative ingredient purveyors with conscientious consumer brands.

The L2M label enables consumers to easily identify food created using practices that enhance water, soil and climate health. This can be a bold step forward in engaging with people who want confidence in choosing products that are good to the land.

And, Cascadian Farm is partnering with Grain Millers, the largest organic oat supplier in the U.S. to promote continuous improvement within organic farming in the United States. They have committed $125,000 through 2022 to conduct soil testing, host field days, share best practices and help remove hurdles to advancing the organic movement. 

We know it will take partnership to make significant change to the food system. So, we continue to learn and collaborate with others. And, together we can make food choices matter for the planet. Partnership Matters. Soil Matters. Food Matters.

Join General Mills at this year's Net Impact Conference. Read more about their featured session here.

#GirlBoss Entrepreneurs Coming to the 2018 Net Impact Conference

Hear the stories of six women who turned their dreams into reality by starting their own businesses. All will be speaking at the 2018 Net Impact Conference, including Laura Clise, pictured here (second from left) on the Net Impact stage in 2016.

In an era when advances in women’s empowerment through such channels as the #MeToo movement are often juxtaposed by setbacks like the 2018 25% decrease in female Fortune 500 chief executive officers, progress in the United States can often seem like a flimsy concept that is hard to define and impossible to judge. Female leaders so frequently face gender discrimination in the workplace that it can feel difficult to imagine women ever reaching adequate representation in institutions such as Fortune 500 Companies and the US government.

Fortunately, there are powerful women in our midst helping pave the way for strong #GirlBoss leaders. Net Impact spoke to six female CEOs who did not let anything stand in their way of founding companies. Each of the women will be speaking at the 2018 Net Impact Conference in Phoenix, Arizona, taking place October 25-27.

Meika Hollender, co-founder and CEO of women’s products company Sustain Natural, has the entrepreneurial spirit engrained in her DNA. “I'm a child of the natural products movement,” she told Net Impact. “My dad founded Seventh Generation 30 years ago, and so my formative years were literally immersed in all things eco-friendly.”

For CEO Laura Clise, her career in the world of entrepreneurship had a bit of a more reluctant start. “I often joke that I started my company, Intentionalist, because I ran out of reasons not to,” said Clise. “I was inspired by an opportunity gap that I spent the better part of five years pondering—thinking about how consumer spending might be part of the solution.”

No matter where the ideas for starting their companies came from, one thing that unites these women is a commitment to using their self-made platforms to create meaningful change within sectors they are passionate about. “I have always enjoyed creative problem-solving and am passionate about social justice,” said Catherine Berman, founder and CEO of financial services company, CNote. “Entrepreneurship was my avenue for creating businesses and products that drive greater economic empowerment and opportunity.”

Starting a company from scratch is not something that comes easily to people. It takes intense dedication in order to get through the long and arduous journey of turning a dream into reality. “Perseverance is key,” said Emily Lamia, founder and CEO of career consulting company, Pivot Journeys. “You have got to have grit to handle the entrepreneur roller coaster and perseverance to keep building your way forward.”

Undoubtedly, all of these women have astute insight into how to start successful businesses. But not surprisingly, each has unique advice on how to best navigate the process. Ayesha Barenblat, founder and president of fashion advocacy organization, Remake, has some words of wisdom: “Stay focused and believe in yourself,” she said. “You will get lots of wanted and unwanted advice, so be sure to filter it.”

Lindley Mease’s perspective? “Start with your values,” said the founder and CEO of Blue Heart, an organization that funds grassroots groups. “Staying connected to your values ensures you are accountable to yourself.”

Hear more from each of these six fearless entrepreneurs at the 2018 Net Impact Conference. “It’s the most wonderful time of the year!” said Clise about the Conference. “It is the inspiring intersection of ‘tried and true’ impact professionals and up-and-coming impact leaders of the future.”

For Barenblat, her role as a speaker at this year’s Net Impact Conference will be particularly special. “When I was a graduate student at UC Berkeley, joining Net Impact is how I found my passion for sustainability,” she said. “I am excited to be back all these years later to share how sustainability has been so core to my professional and personal life.”

Each of these women will be speaking on topics around which they have centered their entrepreneurship. Hollender believes that membership in communities like Net Impact is essential to brands and businesses in order for them to further positive social change. She stated, “The Net Impact Conference is an incredible platform for us to use our collective voices to educate and inspire the future generation of leaders.”

In this day and age, it is increasingly important to encourage women to step into leadership roles. By highlighting stories of powerful women who have achieved great success as a leader, we can set the example for future generations of female empowerment. Net Impact is thrilled to be able to host these six female entrepreneurs at NI18. 

To learn more about these incredible female entrepreneurs, check out their speaker profiles here.

Tickets for the 2018 Net Impact Conference in Phoenix, AZ on October 25-27 are on sale now here. Register by September 17 to receive a 20% discount!

*Hover over a picture to meet each woman!

Build Your Impact & Resume with Net Impact Chapters

For college students and professionals passionate about pursuing careers with purpose, the impact space can seem daunting. Impact jobs exist in almost any industry, and yet it is still challenging for many college students and professionals to find the right avenues to lead careers with impact. Net Impact is here to help! Our Chapters provide individuals with the community, experience and connections needed to find meaningful careers with positive social, environmental and economic impact.
1. Join a community of like-minded peers
Whether you’re a student looking to get involved on your campus or a professional eager to build your network, joining or starting a Net Impact Chapter will guarantee you a community of like-minded peers! Student Chapters operate like student-run clubs inclusive of a general membership, leadership teams and academic advisors that participate in impact-driven initiatives on-campus. Professional Chapters are regionally-based groups managed similarly to organizational boards that enable post-graduates and professionals to serve their local communities. Check out the Montreal (professional) and Earth University (undergraduate) Chapters to see how their members turn their passions into action!
2. Lead exclusive impact programs and build leadership experience
Net Impact Chapters empower members to create impact while building professional development skills such as project management, program design, community outreach and relationship-building. Chapters lead international case competitions like the Food Solutions Challenge, drive student civic engagement campaigns, organize speakers and design-thinking workshops from top sustainable companies through local conferences, and develop unique activities and events to meet the needs of individual communities. 
3. Develop meaningful connections to last a lifetime
 According to a recent LinkedIn article, 85% of all jobs are filled via networking. No matter where you are in your professional career, experts acknowledge that it may be more important in who you know than in what you know in order to land your dream job. As an international community of more than 100,000 members in nearly 400 Chapters, Net Impact provides the platform to develop meaningful connections. Each year thousands of people from across the world convene at the annual Net Impact Conference. Join the community at NI18 in Phoenix, AZ this October 25-27 to meet and learn from the world’s sustainable leaders!
Find a Chapter near you or start your Chapter today! For any questions, please contact the Net Impact Chapters Team at or (415) 495-4230. 

Net Impact Conference Perspective: Graduate Student Mackenzie Pedersen

With the 2018 Net Impact Conference just two months away, find out why graduate student Mackenzie Pedersen is returning to the conference for her second year.

The 2018 Net Impact Conference will take place in Phoenix, Arizona on October 25-27 and is set to bring together a large and diverse group of attendees for a weekend of inspiring programs and extensive networking opportunities. 

For graduate students, the conference program is the ultimate way to enhance their higher education experience by hearing from the top leaders in the fields of social and environmental issues and by cultivating ties with other highly motivated students and professionals. One of the conference’s featured networking events is its networking salons, which allow attendees the ability to personally meet and mingle with the long list of exciting conference speakers.

Mackenzie Pedersen is a second-year student pursuing a Master’s in Global Affairs and Management at the Thunderbird School of Global Management at Arizona State University who is looking forward to returning to the 2018 Net Impact Conference (NI18) this year. She attended for the first time last fall in Atlanta, Georgia, and enjoyed her time there so much that she is coming back again this year. Net Impact caught up with Mackenzie to reflect on her thoughts on the 2017 conference and discuss her expectations and anticipations for 2018.

Mackenzie (front row, third from right) pictured at the 2017 Net Impact Conference in Atlanta, Georgia with the cohort of students she attended with. 

Q: What are you most looking forward to at this year’s Net Impact Conference?

A: I am most looking forward to the opportunity to connect with people in the social impact space that I want to be a part of post-graduation. I want to get a sense of who is there and who all the players are, and I am excited to learn about the things currently going on.

Q: Which topics are you specifically looking forward to learning more about?

A: I am really interested in climate change and what different organizations are doing regarding climate change and how they are integrating that into their businesses. I also want to learn about how energy is changing these days.

Q: Who are you most looking forward to seeing speak?

A: As far as the keynote speakers are concerned, there are two people I am looking forward to most: Gina McCarthy with C-Change and Musimbi Kanyoro, who is the CEO of the Global Fund for Women. With the general #MeToo movement and women being recognized for the amazing work that they are doing, I am looking forward to learning what these incredibly strong women are doing as leaders in the social impact space, as well as what their jobs entail and what their organizations are doing to create world change.

Q: What made you want to attend the conference for a second year in a row?

A: Last year, I was initially looking at conferences that were being sponsored by my school’s career management center and the Net Impact conference stood out to me most because it was based on social impact and blending the nonprofit and for-profit sectors to create impact in the world for social good. I had such an incredible experience last year--I learned so much and met so many amazing individuals. I know this year is going to bring a whole new round of inspiring people who are doing amazing things in the world. I know I will have the opportunity to network with them, put faces to names and hopefully be able to see them as colleagues one day.

Q: Why do you think the conference is a beneficial opportunity for graduate students?

A: For graduate students specifically, conferences allow you to learn about the different opportunities in the spaces that you want to be a part of. If you want to be a part of the energy sector, going to a conference like this will keep you informed of the different trends that are happening in that sector as well as introduce you to people who are representing those trends and those companies that you might want to work for one day.

Q: Do you have any advice for a first-time conference attendee?

A: Bring a notepad. Last year I filled out probably 10 pages of notes from keynote speakers, session speakers, and networking events. Whenever I got to meet somebody, I was able to write down their name and organization so even if we were not able to build into a great lengthy conversation right then and there, I was able to look up their organization later as well as potentially get their email address and be able connect with them later on.

Join Mackenzie and thousands of other students and professionals for an unforgettable weekend in Phoenix. Register today for the 2018 Net Impact Conference with the Early Bird special discount before prices go up on September 16!

Learn more here about the 2018 Net Impact Conference and direct any questions to



Chapter Spotlight: How one Net Impact Chapter creates art out of recycled garbage


Throwing plastics into the trash instead of the recycling bin is common practice - most of us have seen this before and some of us are even guilty of it.  However, recycling plastics and reducing waste is vital to our environment. The Net Impact Federal University of Technology, Owerri Chapter (FUTO) demonstrates the importance of recycling through multiple campus initiatives.

The results of a case study conducted by the FUTO Chapter found that plastics contributed to a startlingly high amount of campus waste. As most plastics are not biodegradable, the FUTO Chapter knew that they needed to be proactive in combating environmental pollution in the form of excess plastic waste on campus. Deborah Eyo, President of the FUTO Chapter, found that participating in the Net Impact Drawdown Act Program was extremely instrumental in spearheading a recycling initiative on campus. 

Brainstorming sessions commenced and creative solutions were formed to discover the best strategies to promote recycling on campus. They discovered that designating their Chapter as an on-campus recycling center was an effective and convenient way to get students to recycle their plastics. To further entice students to recycle, a points system was developed in which students would receive tokens for recycling plastics. Eyo explains that, “as a continuation to the recycling challenge, Net Impact FUTO will also be working with the Cleaner Futo Initiative (CFI) Group on the FUTO campus to clean up the convocation ground. We will be working with a recycling company to trade in the plastic waste gathered. The event will also serve as a campaign against pollution”.

If you think that plastic bottles can only be recycled into other plastic items, then the FUTO Chapter is here to prove you wrong! Another creative and innovative way the FUTO Chapter recycles plastic is by turning it into art. The FUTO Chapter hosts ongoing workshops dubbed Creative Grand Art, which encourages students to think innovatively through the medium of art. Through this program, “a challenge was set up between an instructor and a participant [that resulted in a] gorgeous mosaic depicting the love and oneness of Nigeria,” said Eyo. The workshops demonstrate how eco-friendly household materials can be transformed into artistic masterpieces. 

Thanks to the strong initiatives of the FUTO Chapter, you will now find recycling bins specific for plastic waste on every corner of the FUTO campus. For more information on the Net Impact FUTO Chapter, check out their profile page here.