International Delegates, Collegiate Students Collaborate on Environmental Solutions

During the 10-day International Emerging Leaders Conference (IELC), 41 international high school students and 16 Collegiate School seniors will be tasked with creating innovative solutions to real-world environmental problems affecting their respective countries.
Each day, the students, who hail from China, India, Italy, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Mexico, Morocco, South Africa and Spain, as well as the United States, will dive into the design thinking process to concept and create prototypes of their solutions. Design thinking involves five steps: discovery, interpretation, ideation, experimentation and evolution.

The students will hear from experts in the fields of business, branding, product design and the environment throughout the week. They also will visit the Brock Environmental Center in Virginia Beach and Virginia Commonwealth University’s daVinci Center for inspiration and workshops focused on green construction and innovation, entrepreneurship and experimentation.

On Monday, students began the creative process and broke into teams to tackle their assigned challenges.

Chai, a student from Malaysia, worked with her group on the issue of the declining population of the Saiga, a type of antelope found in Kazakhstan.

“I’m hoping we start to understand the problem more fully and break it down,” she said.

Her teammate, Enrique from Spain, said that they were still getting to know each other, so he hoped they reached the point when, “we can think like a group.”

Jack, a student from South Africa, was examining the issue of excessive water use in his home country. He asked visiting Chinese students about it.

“I want to see if they have had the same problem,” he said. “I’m hoping to find out as much first-hand information from other students and get as much background as possible.”

On Thursday, the student teams will fine-tune their ideas before presenting them to the Collegiate community and the general public at DesignPitch in Oates Theater. Prior to their pitches, keynote speaker Rupa Tak, founder, CEGo and President of Products and Positivity at GoFar, a food company that provides healthy protein snacks for childrenwith food allergies, will address the audience.

To end the conference, the international students will visit with Collegiate students from JK-12th Grade on Friday morning. In the afternoon, they will share their respective customs and traditions at a Cultural Fair for 3rd and 4th Grade students and families. The international students head home on Oct. 9.
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