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Global Issues Network Conference Inspires Six Middle School GIN Members

The+theme+of+the+2016+GIN+conference.+
The theme of the 2016 GIN conference.

The theme of the 2016 GIN conference.

The theme of the 2016 GIN conference.

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In early March, Emma (6), Charley (6), Hadyn (7), Cristina (7), Elena (8), and Myung (8) flew to Shanghai with Mr. Gray and Ms. Shull to attend an annual Global Issues Network (GIN) Conference. There, they learned how to save the world.

“I thought that we learned a lot [from the Shanghai trip] with just three days. With the ideas we got from other schools, I think that we can help save the planet a bit more by doing some of these things at school,” said Charley (6) in a written statement.

Hello from Shanghai! Sacred Heart conference participants pose in front of an ancient temple. Photo: B. Shull

Hello from Shanghai! Sacred Heart conference participants pose in front of an ancient temple.                                                                                      Photo: B. Shull

The GIN Conference, which lasted from March 5 to 7, took place at the Shanghai Community International School (SCIS). In total, the conference was joined by 22 international schools from East Asia. The primary purpose of the conference was to allow middle school students to talk about ongoing global issues, share ideas, and act on a problem to make a difference. To widen the students’ perspectives on current world issues, the students were able to listen to guest speakers, attend workshops, and take part in different activities.

One of the main activities that the students took part in included sharing a project that they had accomplished in their GIN Club. This year, the six conference participants decided to share the idea of the Hunger Banquet – a charity event hosted by the club last year.

In this mini-Hunger Banquet, students are assigned to different social classes. Photo: B.Shull

In this mini-Hunger Banquet, students are assigned to different social classes. Photo: B.Shull

The Hunger Banquet, which was originally initiated by Oxfam, is an activity aimed to raise awareness of poverty. The attendants of the Hunger Banquet are assigned to different social classes, and they then experience different social status. The social classes can be divided up in a pyramid: from top to bottom, there are the High, Middle, and Low classes.

How the Hunger Banquet participants are divided. There are few people in the high class, whereas there are many people in the low class.

How the Hunger Banquet participants are divided. There are few people in the high class, whereas there are many people in the low class.

The High class, which takes up the lowest percentage of the people in the world, receives an adequate meal that is clearly enough for their health and survival. The Middle class, which has more people than the High class, has access to only rice, beans, and water. The Low class, which is the majority of the population, has little to no food. People in this class suffer from famine and malnutrition. The girls presented the idea of the Hunger Banquet with a presentation and a little demonstration.“The most memorable thing from the trip was probably presenting the Hunger Banquet to other schools. I hope that other schools will take the Hunger Banquet to their schools,” Emma (6) said in a written statement.

Fancy that! Hadyn (7) is designing an upcycled dress. Photo: B.Shull

Fancy that! Hadyn (7) is designing an upcycled dress.                Photo: B.Shull

As they shared their plans and thoughts on saving the world, the students were also given the chance to listen to the other middle schoolers’ different perspectives. Some of the insights that the students brought back from the Shanghai trip included things like reducing water and food waste, keeping the environment clean with air-filtering plants, making reusable materials with plastic bottles and bamboo, and designing energy efficient rooms.

 

“The workshops we attended were really interesting and beneficial,” Elena (8) said in a written statement.

That looks delicious…Elena (8) is using leftovers to make new dishes. Photo: B.Shull

That looks delicious…Elena (8) is using leftovers to make new dishes.       Photo: B.Shull

“I think those that attended got the most out of the trip, and I hope, by bringing their ideas back to the club, they will continue to spread the ideas. Our GIN club does so much on its own to spread the ideas, and I am a proud sponsor,” said Mr. Gray in a written statement.

“I think the best part of the trip is seeing how Sacred Heart students work with other students,” said Ms. Shull. “It’s also interesting to see how well-prepared the students are, and how they’re able to make the most of an opportunity.”

The girls were truly inspired by this GIN trip. They are still inspired, and they will continue to inspire others.

 

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