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Congratulations to the winners of the Global Sustainable Development Competition!

GSD competition banner

Each year we run the Global Sustainable Development Competition. This is an exciting opportunity for school students in year 11 and 12 (aged between 15 and 17 years) to think creatively and gain valuable research skills as they learn more about global sustainable development.

Since it was first established, we have expanded the types of entries that can be submitted to include videos, podcasts and poetry, as well as more traditional essay responses. This is in line with our aim to engage with students from a variety of different backgrounds and interests, giving them the chance to present different perspectives on issues of global sustainable development.

This year, entrants addressed the following questions:

  • Do you think the society we live in can be sustainable or do we need to change our habits fundamentally?
  • What do you think are the biggest sustainable development challenges raised by the COVID-19 pandemic?
  • What would be the most desirable outcome of the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26)?

In the five years that we have run the competition, this year we have received the highest number of entries yet! Our judging panel reviewed the entries, selecting the shortlist and the overall winners. The panel included:

Dr Marta Guerriero
Deputy Head of School

Dr Gioia Panzarella
Director of Student Experience

Student ambassador

Student ambassador

Editor in Chief, GLOBUS

Shortlisted entrants were invited to participate in a virtual event on Friday 9 July 2021. The session was led by Dr Marta Guerriero and co-designed by two of our second-year student ambassadors, Naomi Brandon-Bravo and Igne Borisaite, who also formed part of the judging panel. Shortlisted entrants joined the session from far and wide:

The first half of the session involved interactive discussions linked to global sustainable development. Participants were asked to think about 'what makes our society unsustainable?', and were presented a series of prompts prepared by our student ambassadors.

language loss in different continents

Data adapted by John Vidal, originally from WWF, 2014

One of the prompts (left) invited participants to discuss language with regard to sustainability. They considered the importance of culture, the impact of colonialism on indigenous communities, and the link between language loss and climate refugees.

"Sustainability means sustainability for everyone. For centuries, there have been systematic oppression against minority groups. If we do not get rid of these problems, the following will happen: 1) Our mindset will further disregard these minority groups, as our society encourages us to not really listen to their voices 2) Our solutions will be biased and tuned towards ourselves and not the minorities 3) We will not be able to see who is in dire need of help 4) We will become increasingly ignorant."

GSD competition event participant

the disadvantages of plastic straw alternatives for disabled people

Image credit: CreakyJoints, 2019

Another prompt (left) highlighted the negative effects of plastic straw alternatives for disabled people. Participants were encouraged to discuss the trade-offs of achieving all three pillars of sustainability. In this case, the priority on environmental sustainability negatively impacted social inclusivity. This allowed participants to think about the challenges of achieving a fully sustainable society.

The winners!

After the interactive activity, we announced the commended submissions, runners-up, and winners of the competition:

Essay submissions

  • James Sarginson
Runners up
  • Jenna Hunter
  • Daniel Keith Chan
  • Clint Broadhead

Creative submissions

  • Mercedes Noelia Hainzl Fernández
Runners up
  • Summer Fu; Simon Meng; Daniel Sun; Coco Zeng; and Zhichen Xia
  • Peter Gospel Ho; Emma Batty Sukerta; and Kyara Hafiza Saliha
  • Prabhas Vedagiri

The winners and runners up will be awarded vouchers. In addition, the winner of the ‘Essay’ category and the winner of the 'Creative' category have the opportunity to publish their work in GLOBUS, the School for Cross-faculty Studies’ student-run sustainability journal. We will also be gifting a tree-planting certificate for each of the shortlisted entries.

Many congratulations to the winners and all of the shortlisted entrants!

"Getting involved with this competition has been such a great experience. From reviewing all the varied competition submissions to helping to organise the final competition event where the prizes were revealed, the process has been very rewarding. It was also great to host a workshop during the event with the students who participated in the competition. Working alongside them to develop a deeper understanding of what sustainability is, and how essential it is to the world, was so interesting for me and I hope they got a lot out of it too!"

Naomi Brandon-Bravo, GSD student ambassador

"The GSD Competition event was a great opportunity to interact with students whose essays and creative submissions we read and to hear their contributions to our GSD-related critical thinking prompts. I also appreciated reading the competition entries as a judge since it encouraged me to reflect on how much my own GSD knowledge has grown over the years."

Igne Borisaite,
GSD student ambassador