Innovation is all around us.
The world is constantly finding new and improved ways of building, producing, teaching and learning.
At Memorial University, Enactus Memorial is one such group of innovators, with the mission to “apply entrepreneurial principles to address social issues” and “advance the social, economic, and environmental health of our communities.”
Sustainable Development Goal focus
These goals may seem lofty, but Enactus Memorial has seen great success.
It has the honour of being one of the most successful student competition groups in Canada, having won the Enactus national championship 10 times and the world championship twice in 2008 and 2016.
One of the Enactus world cup-winning initiatives is Project SucSeed. It has only grown since its award in 2016.
Led by “Seed-EO” Emily Bland, it has become its own independent project, under the name of SucSeed Social Enterprises.
Placing great focus on sustainable production and raising awareness of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the facets of SucSeed’s business include the production of hydroponic garden units — the original focus of the student-run Enactus project — and the education and inclusion of sustainable practices in the community.
Much of their work is focused on raising awareness of the SDGs and sustainability as a whole through a family-friendly, easy-to-understand lens with the introduction of their Grow Gardens into schools, libraries and community centers, as well as lessons and activities that focus on learning through fun.
Their latest initiative — one that I have a personal connection to — is the Sustainable Superheroes.
The Sustainable Superheroes is a series of 17 diverse characters, designed by the team in conjunction with U.K.-based, Newfoundland-born artist Geri Coady, that are meant to inspire children to find their inner superhero and take action to help accomplish the Sustainable Development Goals.
“An overview book and one focusing on responsible consumption and production have been released.”
These superheroes are the stars of their own book series. To date, an overview book and one focusing on the No. 12 SDG (responsible consumption and production) have been released, with many more on the way!
The books are also being translated into other languages to spread their vital messages to an even wider audience: the two newly released books are available in English and French (translated by Megan Smith — me!) and the overview book is also available in Japanese (translated by Geri Coady).
Until I worked with SucSeed in the summer of 2023, I had a vague idea of what sustainability was but was unaware of the existence of the Sustainable Development Goals and how wide-reaching they are.
This is why I believe SucSeed’s work, especially the Sustainable Superheroes initiative, is so important.
By introducing easy-to-understand engaging stories and hands-on activities to young audiences, they can learn about otherwise scary statistics in an easy and fun way, to quote SucSeed’s head of operations, Andrea Peet.
Innovation is key
As a first-year university student and recent graduate of the public K-12 school system, I wish I could have learned about these important goals in my school years, especially in the interactive, light-hearted way at the heart of SucSeed’s approach.
Innovation is vital for our society as a whole, and SucSeed, as well as all of Enactus Memorial’s past, present, and future student-led initiatives, is paving the way for all generations, young and old, to live a more environmentally friendly, socially conscious life.
I am honoured to have been a part of their work.