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Sustainability through Collaboration

The earliest steps towards formation of an international student platform for the advancement of sustainability were made between the year 2000 and 2001. This was during the Youth Encounter for Sustainability (YES) Course in Braunwald, Switzerland (2000 & 2001) and Alliance for Global Sustainability (AGS) Annual Meeting in Lausanne, Switzerland (2001). In taking these steps the students were ‘looking for a means of translating their collective will to take action into realizing sustainability, through collaboration’.

In 2003, AGS World Student Community was founded in San Jose, Costa Rica by student representatives from the University of Tokyo (UT), Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich (ETHZ), Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne (EPFL), Chalmers University of Technology and the University of Cocody-Abidjan. A few months later the name was changed to the current name – World Student Community for Sustainable Development (WSCSD). The change arose from the students wanting to be an independent organization, but still working closely with AGS. Since then WSCSD has grown into a global network of individual members, student communities, young professionals and general sustainability enthusiasts. This platform has helped the members to share their ideas on sustainable development, update each other on their day-to-day sustainability related activities as well as facilitating sharing of research findings in the field of sustainability. Currently WSCSD is an international multi-disciplinary network with over 100 student communities worldwide.

WSCSD was born out of the idea that student collaboration needs to be extended beyond the limited periods of summits and conferences.  The  organization provides  the  continuity  that is  necessary  for  empowering  students  to  become  a  leading force  in  sustainable  development. WSCSD started to launch its own international projects in 2008. The most outstanding of these is the ‘WSCSD African Initiative’ (provide link), which inspired a collaborative Biosand Water Filters Project, which led to the establishment of an autonomous organisation, the WSCSD-Kenya that has developed a long-term and holistic collaborative initiative to model a sustainable village in Kenya.

WSCSD is proud to be the first student organisation to take on the challenge of transforming an impoverished community into a model sustainable community. Visit Nyakongo2030 site at http://nyakongo2030.nyakongo2030.wscsd.org to learn more about this pioneering work.