Sudburian Chantal Sylvestre has been selected to join other young leaders at a national all-expenses-paid conference this spring. She is among 175 college and university students chosen from more than 730 applicants across Canada to participate in IMPACT! The Co-operators Youth Program for Sustainability Leadership. The program involves a conference, workshops, mentoring and funding for student projects.
“I’m honoured to be a part of this conference,” Sylvestre said. “I want to take in all that I can about sustainable practices, strategies and technologies. This conference and its workshops will help me to become a better leader so that I can help others see that sustainability is possible and everyone can be involved.”
Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield will be the keynote speaker at the program’s key event, the IMPACT! Youth Conference for Sustainability Leadership. He will share his unique perspective on our planet and the special role young people can play.
“To see and hear from people that are already involved in the sustainable community will open doors for my future career,” Sylvestre said. “It will also give me a platform from which I can connect with people of a similar mind and passion as myself.
“What I will gain from the conference will continue to fuel the fire within me to inspire myself and others to push forward in changing the direction our world is currently in.”
Sylvestre will join her colleagues at the University of Guelph campus from May 23-26 where they will team up with experts to develop real sustainability solutions to take back to their campuses, communities, and current or future workplaces.
The participants are students, aged 19 to 25, from 68 Canadian colleges and universities. They come from a variety of fields of study but share a passion for bringing about positive change. The multi-disciplinary approach is intended to spark creativity and create broad-based networks.
“When The Co-operators launched the IMPACT! Program in 2009, sustainability was an issue that we felt deserved attention, but was not necessarily at the forefront of the minds of most Canadians,” said Kathy Bardswick, president and CEO of The Co-operators.
“Since then, awareness of the need for sustainable practices, products and systems has grown, and it is young people who are often the leaders, taking action to create a more sustainable society.”