SustainaFest joined nearly 700 students from four Anne Arundel County schools at South River High School last week to kick-off a year-long program on sustainability and social innovation. This partnership with students enrolled in the STEM and BioMedical/Allied Health magnet programs is the largest interschool collaboration led by SustainaFest to date. Students from South River, Glen Burnie, and North County High Schools, as well as Lindale Middle, gathered in the South River auditorium for a day of riveting films, enlightening guest speakers, and group discussion centered around a theme of individual and community action for a more sustainable world. George Chmael, CEO of Council Fire and SustainaFest founder, addressed the students after a showing of Not Business as Usual, a documentary that looks at a new class of entrepreneurs with the mission of using business as a force for good. The conversation highlighted the social change aspirations of the millennial generation and the growing B Corporation movement. Building upon these concepts, the students watched Tashi and the Monk, an award winning film that chronicles the efforts of a former monk, Lobsang Phuntsok, who started a school and community for orphaned or abandoned children in the Indian Himalayas. The inspiring story showcases the power of the individual that decides to give themselves to the service of others. Film director, Andrew Hinton was beamed in via video call to talk about his experience and answer a barrage of questions from the students.
The inaugural film-day was just the beginning for this partnership. SustainaFest will continue to engage the students through guest speakers, classroom activities and film during their Project-based Learning courses throughout the year.