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Barbara Leger is a second-year Geography student and one of the Project Leaders for one of our newer projects, the Climate Collage UCL, that aims to educate young people about climate change through games. Read on to learn how Barbara got this project off the ground and what it’s like getting year 6 students interested in climate change.

The Climate Collage is a French organisation, where you try to figure out the causes and consequences of climate change using a card game. Maë, my co-project leader, is part of the organisation, and suggested that we bring this game to UCL. What’s so good about it is that it’s so interactive, and it facilitates a really good discussion between participants - it’s a great project to be a part of.

Recently, with all the climate strikes that are taking place; knowledge on climate change is increasing, the public knows it’s important, but many don’t know exactly how it’s going to impact them in the long term as it can feel a bit abstract. I think that has a lot to do with the psychology of climate change; we can’t see what climate change is right now, we’re not in the countries that are right now experiencing the worst consequences, therefore, we don’t know how to take action.

The project was a challenge to get started; we initially wanted a stand at the volunteering fair to attract UCL students into becoming facilitators of the Climate Collage. But to get a stand, we needed to be a Student-Led Project, so that’s how we got involved with the Student-Led Volunteering Programme. We knew it would be especially good, as (hopefully) students could pick up the project and continue leading it for years to come. Maë (who also is the Sustainability Officer for the Students’ Union) focussed more on the training and teaching aspects of the project, while I focussed more on the administrative parts. It was also a struggle to convert expressions of interest into actual volunteers who would be able to help on a regular basis, but we recruited four volunteers who helped us deliver the project.

With all these strikes happening, I think it is important for young people to better understand the consequences of climate change and how it will directly have an impact on their lives.

We had two classes of thirty Year 6 students, and it was really enriching to run the Climate Collage with students who already had prior knowledge of climate change. They asked relevant questions, and we were able to think of some things they wanted to change now, and some future goals.

I’d definitely do it again. I am going for a year abroad next year, but it’s definitely something I want to take up again when I return. Once the Project Plan and Risk Assessment are completed and accepted, running the project is not very time consuming and allows you to meet new people. It gave me skills I didn’t have before in terms of management, administration and correspondence with the school and my supervisor, and making sure I was on top of everything. It also taught me to ask questions and to put myself out there, because schools would express their interest, but then I was the one to send them a follow up email, as the impetus was on me to make that move.

If you want to turn your passion into a project like Barbara - it really is that easy! Check out our page on how to get started