TACKLING WASTE – ONE DAY AT A TIME
As part of their Transition Year programme, students from St Louis Secondary School brought their focus to a waste issue within the school – the excessive use of plastic. Using Design Thinking, they hoped to find a way to encourage other students and other people in the wider community to change their habits through achievable actions, and this fantastic calendar was the outcome. Here they tell us a bit more about the process they went through in getting to it.
We, St Louis Monaghan Town Transition Year students, took on the Challenge of tackling waste through Innovating Communities, a free project that delivers free workshops in Design Thinking which is creative problem solving. We worked together, applying the Design Thinking principle of ‘Thinking through making’, and created a calendar of environmentally friendly actions for the month of April. At the beginning of this project, as we have experience of an excessive use of plastic in school, we decided to focus on waste and designed a survey to gain insights from our fellow students on the topic and how to enact positive change and behaviours. Throughout the process of Design Thinking, we tackled this global climate challenge on a local level. We used our user-centred, qualitative research from the survey to gather rich insights into people’s behaviours towards plastic. Based on this research, we created personas to develop empathy and put ourselves into another’s shoes. Personas are fictional characters that represent a target group. We created a defined brief based on the insights and personas, and from that, stemmed our defined project question which asks; ‘How can we provide resources for self-education and help students understand that their small everyday actions can make a big difference?’
This question acted as a springboard to help us come up with a range of ideas to create positive change. We designed multiple ‘touchpoints’ of an idea; the first prototype was an ‘achievable environmental actions calendar’ that provides small everyday actions that people can pick up to change habits and behaviours.
Our other touchpoints involved using a hashtag to spread awareness and an interest campaign, a scavenger hunt with the local library, and collaborating with local businesses to discount sustainable products and promote better consumer habits. So here you have one of our ideas; our calendar of actions for the month of April! We presented this to our peers, observing their reactions and collecting feedback to refine the idea further.
We also have a larger scale version of the calendar with space to input different months so that it can be reused and we hope that this will be used in the school with students, staff, visitors and more, to encourage change. We will meet Monaghan Town Library to discuss our scavenger hunt ideas – watch this space! We would love if you could make the effort and give the time to make small changes to make a big difference.
As you do your action of the day, please use the hashtag #AbloomApril, tagging Innovating Communities and St Louis Monaghan on social media. We also encourage you to send images over by email to email@example.com or WhatsApp to 087 176 1732. We hope you enjoy being part of #AbloomApril. Have a great month!