UCF committee ConnACT Fryslân have won one of the six Hans Adriaansens Student Initiative Awards. The awards, named after the Dutch sociologist, comprise six annual prizes of a maximum of €500 each. The awards are presented by the consortium of European Colleges of Liberal Arts and Sciences, ECOLAS, and are aimed at encouraging students of university colleges to connect with people outside the academic community and allow students to contribute to society.
ConnACT Fryslân is a group of Global Responsibility & Leadership bachelor students who are committed to make a connection between sustainability and a diverse group of people in the local society of the province of Friesland. The sustainable development goals of the United Nations formed the guiding principle to this end. The aim of the group is already clear in its name ConnACT, a combination of the verbs ‘to connect’ and ‘to act’. ‘Connect’ because the group wants to actively involve people in sustainability, and ‘act’ because they also want to incite them into action. As well as awareness, ConnACT Fryslân aims to provides tools to become more sustainable on an individual level.
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ConnACT Fryslân won the prize for its project ‘Senioren Lokaal Betrokken bij Duurzaamheid’ (Seniors Involved in Local Sustainability). The goal of this project is to connect seniors with the topic of sustainability and with young people through a workshop. Founder Hanneke Slob explains the motivation for this project:
‘The topic of seniors and sustainability is very interesting and there are a lot of opportunities in this area. Seniors are also facing the effects of climate change. Did you watch Zondag met Lubach last weekend, on 8 November? It was about insulating houses. That is a good example of how seniors and sustainability connect. On the one hand, houses must become more sustainable to reduce our emissions and, on the other hand, heat is becoming an increasing problem. Seniors are especially vulnerable to heat. Housing insulation addresses both climate and health problems. It ensures for less cold in the winter and less heat in the summer, through which heating and air conditioning also don’t have to be used as often. That is exactly the concept of our committee; to create a better world for seniors as well as the environment through sustainable developments.’
At the end of the workshop, the participants will be appointed as sustainability ambassadors. ‘This gives them a new challenge in life. We want to connect the ambassadors with one another, to create a sense of community. It provides room for them to talk to one another. We are therefore ensuring that the voices of older people will be heard.’
In October, the first group of participants successfully finished the online workshop. The next workshops will be held in the coming year.
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