Congolese Climate Leadership Fellows Plan Green Campus, Creation Care Week Events
U.C.B.C.'s campus in Beni, DRC
Faden Sibamtaki and Diane Kyanga are, in many respects, typical college students. Their days are filled with classes, homework, and the universal stresses and joys of student life.
But they are also climate activists.
As Y.E.C.A. Climate Leadership Fellows on their campus at the Bilingual University of the Congo (U.C.B.C.) in Beni, DRC, they work to raise awareness for Christ-centered environmental concern on their campus and in the surrounding community. They are mobilizing their neighbors to take hopeful action to address the reality of climate change in their community.
Green Campus Celebration
Two activities to that end occurred recently on campus. On March 21, Creation Care Volunteers (headed up by Faden and Diane) partnered with the campus agribusiness department to launch the Green Campus Project and to hold an expo celebrating the event. The vision of the Green Campus Project is to reforest the entire 89 acre campus. In order to achieve this ambitious goal, the Green Campus Project has launched a tree nursery on campus using indigenous tree species. On March 21, the entire campus was invited to commemorate the launch of the Green Campus Project by planting a tree in the newly-minted nursery. It is hoped that, in time, the nursery will provide the bulk of the trees needed to accomplish the vision of the Green Campus Project.
After the day of celebration, several students expressed appreciation for the event. Eric, a second-year theology student, reflected that, “Today, I have learned many things from this Creation Care activity...I noticed that I was ignorant of things that harm the environment, but now I feel enriched. My impressions are good about this day, everything was really good”. Similarly, first-year communications student Sophie said, “I feel excited to participate to this activity...The truth is that we are human and we are supposed to get clean air. We can get it only if we are surrounded with enough trees...I feel more called to engage and work with the Creation Care group to better the environment”.
Students plant trees in the new U.C.B.C. tree nursery Green Campus expo
Creation Care Week
The second major event on U.C.B.C.’s campus this spring was a Creation Care Week, which ran from June 5-10. It is a week that the Creation Care Volunteers student group has worked hard to make a yearly installation in the life of the campus, and this year marked the third annual Creation Care Week—an entire week marked off by U.C.B.C. administration where faculty, staff, and students all participate in events meant to raise awareness and spur stewardship-focused action on campus.
While the week was marked by several activities, it was highlighted by chapel services, daily movie screenings, a creation care expo, and service-learning opportunities for students. On both Monday and Friday of the week, faculty led chapel services exploring God’s heart for His world and our call to be caretakers of creation. On Thursday, a creation care expo highlighted the work of the campus’ agribusiness department and of the faculty-led Creation Care Committee on campus. After the expo, students were led through a series of creation care focused service-learning opportunities. First-year students were led on a vision tour across campus, where they were educated on the campus’ master plan and were invited to envision how the university can better utilize campus spaces. Other students helped index all creation care books in the library, continued to cultivate and care for the saplings in the tree nursery, and learned about Farming God’s Way—a form of conservation agriculture that increases yield while preserving soil health through a combination of organic farming techniques and biblical teaching.
Y.E.C.A. is proud to partner with students like Faden and Diane, and all of the other students on U.C.B.C.’s campus who are working to build awareness and momentum for climate action in their local community!
Faden leading a chapel service during Creation Care Week Students attending a Creation Care Week chapel