NYU Shanghai Student Turns GoGreen Week into Global Event
What started as an eco-challenge to get NYU Shanghai students to give up meat is now a week-long roster of environmental talks and events held on three continents. We hear from the organisers who put GoGreen Week on NYU’s global calendar.
NYU Shanghai students broke new ground this Earth Month, leading the way in organizing a week-long event that took place across all three NYU campuses. Dozens of environment experts and industry leaders came together with students in Shanghai, Abu Dhabi and New York to share ideas and inspiration about building a sustainable future.
International GoGreen Week was the brainchild of NYU Shanghai student and Green Shanghai president Nofar Hamrany, who, buoyed by the enthusiasm for the fledgling society’s first campus challenge in 2015, was determined to bring the event to a wider audience.
More than just saving trees
This year, more than 50 activities took place across the three campuses, including documentary screenings, trash fashion shows, eco-challenges, art workshops, farmers’ markets, an industry conference and series of panels exploring topics ranging from green careers to food production.
VIEW GALLERY: Models pose in recycled fashion
In New York, the focus was on animal agriculture. “Most people aren't aware of just how much this industry destroys our environment,” explains Anami Nguyen, who helped organise GoGreen Week New York. “It is also the easiest industry to tackle in our everyday consumption by leaving animal ingredients off our plates, like meat, dairy, fish and eggs.”
Meanwhile at NYU Abu Dhabi, water management, solar energy and recycling - all big issues in the Emirates - were given dedicated days.
READ MORE: Environmental art workshop
Environmentalists have a reputation for being pushy, admits Nofar, “that’s why we are trying to do events in as many different fields as possible; to get people to do whatever they are interested in, but do it in a sustainable way.”
Harnessing the global network
With such diverse ideas of what it means to ‘be green’, global GoGreen Week was an opportunity for students to find out what issues mattered to their peers around the world.
Organizers invited students from all NYU’s campuses and Study Away sites to post photographs of the places they live onto social media with the hashtag #WhatsYourEnvironment to foster a broader understanding of environmental protection.
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A healthy dose of competition united efforts across the three campuses, as each vied to recruit the most participants to their Go Vegetarian challenge and save more electricity than their neighbors in a dorm building rivalry dubbed NYUnplugged.
Communication between campuses played a part in developing the range of talks and activities, with the organizers inspired to expand their event programs as they shared ideas.
“There is a little bit of competition,” Nofar confides,“but that’s good. Having this communication, knowing what the other campuses are doing, is motivating and helping us to do more.”
Tessa Rosenberry, Student Engagement Coordinator at NYU's Office of Sustainability in New York, believes it is this collaboration that made international GoGreen week so successful:
“By coordinating GoGreen Week events globally, more visibility is brought not only to the environmental issues being discussed and organized around, but to the global connectivity that NYU is so unique to foster,” she said.
Nofar Hamrany is already working with students at other international universities in China to organise a GoGreen Week on their campuses.
Duke Kunshan University, University of Nottingham Ningbo, and the Chinese University of Hong Kong are among those that have signed up, with NYU Shanghai’s partner institution East China Normal University also considering an event.
This year’s activities may be coming to a close, but this is just the beginning for GoGreen Week.
The student organisers of Global GoGreen Week were:
Nofar Hamrany, Green Shanghai
Omer Cohen, Animals Rights and Herbivores Society
Anami Nguyen, Animal Welfare Collective
Davis Saltonstall, EarthMatters
Alejandra Trejo Rodriguez, Ecoherence
Louis Gerald Plottel, Ecoherence
View gallery here.