Ten months of project design and preparation finally took tangible form a couple weeks ago, just in time for it to mark the end of my regular fellowship and the beginning of my extension with Ashoka. Ashoka Youth & Children kicked off our process of creating cities full of civically active youth with an event called Green Plan-It. Around three hundred people, representing 61 institutions from an array of sectors, gathered for two days at our host partner’s campus, SAP Labs, to learn about ways of innovating for the environment. By any standards, Green Plan-It was a success for our vision at Ashoka India Youth and Children.
A handful of you will have of course already been made aware of this from an obnoxious amount of Face Book notifications. I went ahead and took the liberty of adding some of my more socially tolerant friends without permission to The Green Reporters, a group of media/ communication students from three different colleges. They covered the event with an active twitter account and an equally energetic Face Book page. As proud as I am of these students, I have to admit there was a certain amount of disappointment upon realizing that the twenty to thirty unread notifications in my inbox didn’t represent a sudden and inexplicable spike in my popularity. I should take solace however in knowing what all those notifications did represent: young people showing interest and taking action for the environment and youth-led social initiatives. This of course was the point of the entire conference, and The Green Reporters showed that the event was starting to hit its mark before it had even started (as was evident by the fact that I had to give up two of my Saturdays to work with them prior to the event…as did they). To this day, several weeks later, there are still daily posts in the Green Reporters Face Book page about green action taking place in Bangalore.
Since the event, several outcomes have come to our attention. There are certainly more that we haven’t been made aware of. The more notable resulting off-shoots of civic action are:
a) Ashoka Fellow, Ayyappa Masagi, has agreed to start working with SAP Labs on water literacy.
b) Students have started a water program at Manipal University with help from CSOs
c) Mr. Valecha, a Green Plan-It attendee specializing in water conservation is doing a conference for start-ups
d) Jyoti Navas College started its first eco club.
e) Mount Carmel College intends to conduct its first process of identifying and forming Social Action Groups (SAGs) this weekend.