Aishwi’s journey as an environmentalist took off in her highschool United Nations Connections Club, where she learned about global issues such as climate change and human rights infringements. While learning about the conferences that world diplomats attend in the hopes of eradicating these issues, Aishwi grew hopeful about policy makers creating change and making the world a better place.
Yet when Aishwi saw the 2009 UN Climate Change conference fail to establish any commitments in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, she felt overwhelmed that politicians with so much potential did not use it to better the environment. That is when Aishwi realized that she could not rely on others to create change. She would have to seek it herself. It was also during high school that Aishwi inspired her cousin, who was new to the school district, to join the high school environmental club and also develop a passion for environmental protection.
Since then, Aishwi has gone on to study Science at the University of British Columbia, where she became the founder and director of a clothing swap:
“After extensive research on factory wastes and its detriments on the environment, I really felt compelled to organize a clothing swap, which later became known as Vancouver's Largest Clothing Swap. By recycling clothing, a reduction in toxic waste generated from factories can easily be achieved.”
Aishwi also joined the Directors’ team of Common Energy at UBC, which focuses “on a wide range of environmental issues/targets from making campus zero waste to promoting plant-based diets on campus.” She has offered advice on student group proposals as a Sustainability Student Councillor, and this past year, in her attempts to find the intersection between academia and sustainability, Aishwi has also launched the “UBC Sustainability Speaker Series”, where she invited professors and community changemakers to speak to students on sustainability issues and projects.
“I think the greatest thing that I learned from these initiatives is to never underestimate the power of collaboration,” Aishwi says. Elaborating on her experience she explained that the help of every organizer was key in every event she planned. Aishwi would like to thank her environmental club members for their collaborative efforts and for helping her get ideas and initiatives off the ground. “In the future, whenever I have an idea of a project, I will always run it by my club and seek out suggestions, advice, and interest before beginning,” she says.
In the next two years, the Common Energy group that Aishwi belongs to plans to organize a national sustainability conference to bring together student sustainability organizations from across the country, and find a way to increase their leverage in achieving sustainability goals. Common Energy is also hoping to increase efforts in making UBC a zero-waste campus. Specifically, they would like to make UBC a plastic bottle-free campus, a mission that Aishwi considers her five year goal.
Aishwi would also like to expand Vancouver’s Largest Clothing Swap across the country by fostering connections in Toronto and Montreal.
From learning about global leaders in high school to becoming a leader on a world-renowned university campus, Aishwi has had an incredible journey. We can’t wait to see what else she accomplishes by the time she graduates!
This article was sponsored by Youth Leadership Society of BC. Here’s what they have to say about Aishwi:
Aishwarya Roshan joined our organization at age 14. Since then we have seen her grow in stature by undertaking umpteen community service projects. Her passion lay in creating a Sustainable Environment Network and had some original ideas to promote this concept. She truly embodies youth leadership, who walks the talk. She is a role model for youth. At YLSBC we are proud of her and congratulate for her accomplishment.
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