What changed the lives of these Green Heroes?
In Nature, the concept of ‘waste’ doesn’t exist, as nature recycles and reuses all of its resources. Waste products produced by one process or organism become the raw materials for the other. Very soon, waste won’t exist at Maharshi Dayanand (M.D.) College, either, because the students from AES’ ‘Ecopreneur program’ have launched a campaign to turn their waste into wealth. They are calling the campaign ‘Wastilization,’ to emphasize the point that all waste can be utilized in productive and sustainable ways.
Who is an ‘Ecopreneur’?
AES’ Ecopreneur program helps students gain a deep understanding of sustainable product development and business modeling. The goal of the program is to guide students through the entrepreneurship process so that they can develop and pilot and entrepreneurial product or service which is ecologically and economically sustainable.
Around 25 students from MD enrolled in the Ecopreneurship Course. Dedicated several hours every week, the students worked hard to understand and address the sustainability issues in their school. They conducted a waste audit in their college premises, brainstormed a variety of solutions to minimize waste, and finally designed and built products from upcycled waste. The students also planned the revenue model for their solutions; and developed and executed a sales and marketing campaign to build awareness about their products.
From Waste to Wealth
After recognizing the extensive amount of waste that their school was generating, the MD students designed a mini business where they sold upcycled waste products. Using the plastic bottles, CDs, paper, and cardboard they found around the school, they designed innovative products like photo frames, bookmarks, pen holders, piggy banks, and jewellery. To test the market’s response to their products, the students set up stall to sell their product in the courtyard.
The team managed to gather a huge crowd for the exhibition of their products. They received incredible feedback from their customers, such as one graduating senior, who said: “It is a very innovative idea. A world in which people only focus on wasting things and spoiling the nature, you guys stood out from the crowd and came out with something very wonderful. Really love your work.” The positive feedback also converted into profit, where the students sold many of the products, and received orders for even more.
In order to educate people about their products and attract people to their stall, the students designed a creative marketing campaign as well. They used the tune of the famous song ‘Summer of 69’ by Bryan Adams, converting the lyrics to emphasize the importance of environmental sustainability.
“We have just a bowl full of Earth left,
All we have to do is save it, right?
With just a little care and effort,
Earth will be healthy fine.”
“Oh now the question’s how?
To make the earth last forever
And now we have the choice
Make it a better place and be here
Green and the best place of our lives”
The music performance attracted many spectators, who would otherwise not have come by the stall. One of the teachers, who worked at the school for many years, commented: “The lyrics were just amazing. For the first time I see college students writing a song for nature. ” After jamming to the entertainment, many of the students also encouraged the MD Ecopreneurs to upload the song on social networking sites so that everyone could continue to enjoy it and spread the message even further.
The Ecopreneurs are not only influencing others with their upcycling business, but also reforming their whole lives to be more sustainable. At the end of the program, the students talked about all the simple but profound changes they have made to contribute to a healthier environment. “I have started re-using stuff with creativity, and I now travel by public transport rather than using a bike,” said Mrudhugandha Gaikwad, one of the students. Aishwarya Madkar, another ‘Ecopreneur’ said, “I now make use of the waste produced at my home for art. I make the best of waste!”
Let us learn from these Green Heroes…and bring about a change in our lives as well.
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