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Project A.W.A.R.E: Our inspiring student stories

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‘A.W.A.R.E’s’ story...

Katie Douglas, Caoimhe Duffy and Conor Byrne created the A.W.A.R.E initiative with the aim of making others aware of how recycling can help the planet and bring focus to the negative effects of not recycling


Katie Douglas

We noticed at the start of the year when we started our environmental issue unit, that there weren't many recycling bins about the College and we thought we need to change that because they're just being put into normal bins and not being recycled, which is has having an impact on the environment. So we spoke to our teacher and our project, A World Aiming to Renew our Environment (A.W.A.R.E) was created.


Caoimhe Duffy
Our aim was to make others aware of how recycling can help the planet and bring the focus to the negatives of not recycling. The idea was to put more recycling bins in College and how it would benefit the College.

Conor Byrne

We then made surveys to give out to students within our Supportive Learning classes to see how much they knew about Recycling. Then find out how they could then benefit from having food waste bins and recycling bins in their classroom.

Pictured above: Belfast Met Student Conor Byrne



About the PBL project

Caoimhe Duffy
We first saw the black bins just outside the college and thought no one's want to know to put recycling into that.

Conor Byrne
You couldn't see actually on the bin what was for which category.

Katie Douglas
Then we notice in the canteen there was no food waste bins, it was just mainly throw everything into one bin. So we thought, that's not fair, every week we put food waste in proper bins in our class, and we said we're doing it, so why can the College not do it. That's how we came up with the idea.
 

Sustainability Impact

Caoimhe Duffy

It really made me realise how important it is to recycle not just for us, but for animals.

Conor Byrne
We saw videos of plastic floating around the water, then animals getting trapped and injured in it. This really opened our eyes to how we could start recycling more at home. I do recycle at home, but I now I feel that I can still improve on how I recycle.

Katie Douglas

Watching videos too about rubbish on the beach, because I go to the beach a lot, it really had an impact on me because that's the ocean I'm swimming in. You wouldn't want to swim in an ocean full of rubbish. You can see a decrease in the people going to the beach because of the rubbish.

Caoimhe Duffy
If you are eating foods such as fish, you are eating plastic yourself.

 

Katie Douglas
That's another thing we found out.

Conor Byrne
Yeah, like in apples there's tiny plastic particles.

Katie Douglas
As you're throwing stuff into the ocean, and fish are eating it, you're eating plastic too. When plastic waste is reduced, you're looking after the animals and you're looking off yourself.

 
Pictured above: Belfast Met Student Katie Douglas



Future Goals


Katie Douglas
Raise awareness of it. We are to share what we've learnt with different organisations that we go to outside of college and then in our homes. We've all seen a big difference in our families.

Caoimhe Duffy
We're able to tell you more information, and say to people you can do this and that to help improve the environment.

Conor Byrne
The College staff and Tutors know about recycling, but again, there's a lot more that can be done around the campus and I think that's what we have then learn from doing this.

Katie Douglas
It's making a difference. It's telling the staff that we are learning and we are taking home what we've learned. We're sharing our passion.

Caoimhe Duffy
It's given me more inspiration to work with animals, especially in the sea, if I have the opportunity to work with injured dolphins and help them, that would be great.

Katie Douglas
I surf as a hobby, and it has made me want to change the ways of people when they throw rubbish on the beach. I'd like to organise or get involved in a litter picking or beach clean.

Conor Byrne
Now I have more information, I want to talk to others about it and give them the information that we learnt on how to recycle and what they can do to improve recycling around the world.



Words of Advice

Caoimhe Duffy

We've done all this work, and got so far. We would hope that people come in and carry on by keeping the recycling in the College going and not just let it go back to the way it was.

Katie Douglas
We don't want to just go away. We want to try and encourage the Tutors and the staff and support workers to try and encourage future pupils to take this on because we've seen how much of an impact it has had on us and all of our lives. So I think it would be good and it will have an impact on the future students that come here.

Conor Byrne
I think as well there's a lot more that can be done, our aim was for food waste bins and plastic to be recycled but we're still using an awful lot of paper. The students that come in next year, they could try and make the college more paperless.

Caoimhe Duffy
With us finishing so soon, we don't have enough time to have an impact on every part of recycling. Hopefully if students come in they are able to carry what we've achieved on.

Pictured above: Belfast Met Student Caoimhe Duffy



‘Belfast Met has changed us for the better’


Katie Douglas
Belfast Met has changed us for the better, it really has. We have got new independent skills, we've been able to do stuff we thought we weren't going to be able to do.

Caoimhe Duffy
We've learned so much stuff, cooking, being able to go out on public transport, having more freedom from when we were in school. It's been amazing.

Katie Douglas
The staff are so supportive here and you don't have to worry. We have so many friends, our friendship group is getting bigger and bigger.

Conor Byrne
A lot of people have found jobs and are able to go into employment because of Belfast Met. That's from the tutors talking to us, they teach us what's vital to learn.

Caoimhe Duffy

They’ve given us more confidence to be able to go to an interview and think about what I want to do in the future.

Katie Douglas
They've encouraged us and telling us that we can do it and having faith in us because some people can knock themselves down. I know I did it, but the Tutors have helped me grow my confidence and helped me believe in myself more and I've been able to do stuff that I thought I would never be able to do before I came here.


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