Following his attendance at the 2018 One Young World Summit in The Hague, final year student Alex Butterworth returned to campus inspired to promote positive and lasting social change. With help from a dedicated Student Organising Committee, Saturday’s caucus brought young people from across all subjects together to discuss how some of the world’s most pressing issues can be addressed on campus and beyond.

The event focused on three key themes relating to the UN Sustainable Development Goals: Sustainability & Environment, Health & Wellbeing, and Education & Inclusion.

Keynote speaker Mary Helda Akongo, Founder of Roaring Doves and Operations and Programs Manager of Zimba Women, captivated everyone with her ideas on empowering women in business and spoke of the importance of resilience and perseverance.

Dr Caroline Casey, one of the world’s leading disability advocates, presented the second keynote of the day. Caroline has been a pivotal campaigner in shifting the dialogue around those with disabilities; as she remarked, “96% of our DNA is the same, and somehow that 4% separates us”.

University student groups were heavily involved in the event. In order to encourage dialogue around sustainability, Team Bath Electric Racing showcased their car and the Chemical Engineering Sustainability Group highlighted their campus initiatives. The Centre for Learning & Teaching raised awareness about Curriculum Transformation and the goal to embed citizenship and sustainability into all courses. PhotoSoc captured the day’s best moments, Alley Barbers performed during the coffee break, and the Students’ Union Officers mentored the day’s interactive activities. Jhon Bateman, Co-chair of the student group Enable, took part in an ‘in conversation’ with Caroline Casey and was on the panel for the Equality & Inclusion session.

Annika Theilgaard, Student Engagement Manager for the Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences, commented: “The success of OYW Bath has largely been down to the brilliant partnership of students and staff in developing the event and the surrounding activity”. Annika praised the Student Organising Committee for their “outstanding enthusiasm and dedication; their innovative and creative ideas have become reality, resulting in tangible benefit for students across the University”.

Student organiser Tim Durbin spoke of his experience being a part of the student-led committee: “One Young World Bath has allowed me to develop a number of skills, bolstering both my employment prospects and overall student experience. This involvement has provided me with a fantastic opportunity to collaborate with a number of groups across the University, from student societies to the University Vice President and even the Mayor of Bath."

"The most rewarding aspect of OYW Bath has been working with a likeminded team to further a cause I believe in. From ending extreme poverty to building more efficient, transparent institutions, the Sustainable Development Goals are vital to building a better future for all”, he added.

Alex Butterworth, Mary Helda Akongo and Safoora Biglari

Alex Butterworth with speakers Mary Helda Akongo and Safoora Biglari

As an opportunity to formulate innovative ideas, attendees were separated into groups and asked to think of initiatives that would create positive change on campus. The workshops were facilitated by SU Sabbatical Officers and staff. Given £250, the winning groups now look forward to working with OYW Bath to deliver their initiatives.

“The introduction of post-event student-led initiatives will ensure that the work put in this year will have long lasting impact and create a legacy on our campus. It has been fantastic to see the engagement of students and societies, demonstrating real enthusiasm to be involved in a movement that promotes young leadership and global citizenship” said Emily Richards, Business Engagement Manager in the Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences.

The University of Bath is the only university in the world that has consistently sent student representatives to attend its annual event since 2013. Proud of its longstanding connection with the international charity, the University believes passionately in the transformational power it has on young people.

This year, the School of Management will join the Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences in sending delegates to One Young World 2019 in London. Applications were declared open at the event, with growing anticipation and excitement for this year’s global summit.

Other speakers at One Young World Bath 2019 included Anne Philpott (Health Advisor), Ben Howlett MD (Public Policy Projects), Joe MaConnell (Kite Oxford-Nairobi), Desree Gumbs-Carty (Spoken Word Artist) and University representatives Professor Sarah White, Dr Karen Angus-Cole, Russell Arnott, David Starley, Professor Janet L Scott, Caroline Hickman, Joel Staley, and Jhon Bateman.