Social Innovation student will lead a team of volunteers at COP26

Thu, 15 Jul 2021 18:39:00 BST
Monica will be based at Glasgow Science Centre's 'green zone' at COP26
Monica will be based at Glasgow Science Centre's 'green zone' at COP26

A GCU student has been rewarded for her dedication to climate justice – by being asked to lead a team of volunteers at this year’s COP 26 event taking place in Glasgow.

Social Innovation Masters student Monica Allen received more than she bargained after applying to be a volunteer but was then approached by a member of Glasgow City Council to take on the role of Volunteers Ambassador.

COP26 is the annual United Nations climate change conference which is scheduled to be held in Glasgow from Sunday, October 31st till Friday, November 12th.

She explained; “I was going to sign up just to be a general volunteer but I was then asked by someone I know from Glasgow City Council who knows about my interests - and they basically told me this would be a great opportunity.

I had to go through an application process myself and then I was accepted!”

Through her role as Ethical and Environmental Officer at GCU Students’ Association, Monica was already involved in the process of recruiting and selecting volunteers for COP26- hosting sessions alongside peers Matt Crilly from NUS Scotland and GCU’s current Student President Adil Rahoo.

It wasn’t long before Monica’s leadership skills were put to the test as she delved into her role as Volunteer Ambassador.

She said; “As much as I was going through the training sessions myself on my own volunteer capacity, I then had my ambassador hat on and I was training people and helping to facilitate it.”

By getting involved in a multitude of extra-curricular activities as a student, Monica has demonstrated a passion for climate change and leadership.

She believes these actions are what helped her to be successfully headhunted for this prosperous opportunity.

She said; “I think my work with Ethical and Environmental groups has helped.

When I was completing my undergraduate degree at GCU I was Ethical and Environmental officer then, and I continued to be in the role this year during my Masters degree.

Being in this role stood me in good stead but I was also very involved with other volunteering roles at The University which has definitely helped.

I was a Student Ambassador with GCU Student Life and I had various roles with The Edit so it was nice that I was contacted after being recognised for all these voluntary activities I’d been taking part in over the years.”

Monica will lead a group of volunteers based at The Glasgow Science Centre’s ‘green zone’ which will welcome charities, NGOs and other organisations to host their own individual stalls – aiming to raise awareness of climate change.

She explained her hopes of what the event will achieve; “We’re making sure this is as inclusive and as accessible as possible.
We are living in a climate emergency and it’s really important.

Personally, I have drastically reduced my meat consumption, I use mostly vegan products when it comes to haircare, skin care and things like that.

I really want to encourage people to not just forget about COP26 once it’s done.

Everyone does really have the opportunity to make a change when it comes to climate change and sustainability – especially those who are at school, it’s their future!”

She added; “If school pupils are making small changes, they’re passing that on to their parents, their grandparents etc and that can be really powerful.

A lot of people don’t take notice and they think that they can’t do anything because it is such a big issue but if everyone is doing something small, all in all it’s obviously going to make a big difference long term.”

To find out more about how Glasgow Caledonian University is getting involved with COP26 follow GCU’s Centre for Climate Justice on Twitter.

By Rebecca Meechan

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