Raaj Chatterjee, 2016 Finalist

Raaj Chatterjee, 2016 Finalist

RAAJ CHATTERJEE
AGE: 19
HOMETOWN: Surrey, BC (Unceded Coast Salish Territories)

Raaj was fortunate enough to visit Copenhagen Climate Conference when he was just 12 years old. He was astounded to find so many global leaders gathered together to help saving the world from climate change. Grateful to his father and his environmental minded family, he felt that he needed to help out the environment too.

In the same year he attended the conference in Copenhagen, he volunteered at a local social justice film festival. He learned that social justice greatly intertwined with environment, and he was determined to volunteer more and connect the two together.

With a mind that desired to challenge itself, he moved a step forward and founded a composting program at his high school, where he received grants from an educational think tank. In two years, however, he felt sad for not having the result he wanted to achieve; he regretted not trying hard enough and the project was stuck in a hole. He did not want to give up and carefully thought hard on how to approach the problem.

Raaj Chatterjee, 2016 Finalist

Raaj Chatterjee, 2016 Finalist

In the tenth grade, he joined the city’s sustainability camp. He wanted to see how the camp could teach and help him become a leader. He helped organize a high school student oriented conference. Over 125 high school students participated. Through this success, he regained consciousness in his desire to improve the world. He implemented a composting program and led green teams of his high school and of the district. Later on, he felt the urge do greater good. He rallied in the eleventh grade and further gained valuable experience and became part of the climate justice movement.

While being heavily involved with various activities for the past six years, he discovered his strength. He led several youth organizations over the years and founded a food distribution project that helped feeding and saving homeless people in his hometown. He certainly learned that it should not only be environment and sustainability that he should focus on, but also on well-being of the society.

Through gaining valuable experience and knowledge in his youth, he decided to learn mechatronics systems in the university. As an intern, he designs low-energy technology in the automobile industry. He highly appreciates his family giving him an early start and wants to become a role model in India, his home country, to give back to the community so India can have clean electricity and so its people can have a better life.


HIGHLIGHTS

  • He is the President SFU 350 of SFU Surrey campus where he helps the organization campaigning for Divest SFU, including lobbying, rallying, and hosting events.
  • He recently worked with the SFU Public Square to help organize the Rethink Food Sustainability innovation challenge, which is part of the 2015 Community Summit, attracting over 170 high school students from all over the Metro Vancouver.
  • In the summer of 2015, he made a film titled “Web of Interconnections” that encourages people to discover nature, as a project while participating in the Vancouver Outdoor Learning Project of CityStudio and SFU Semester in Dialogue.
  • He won People’s Choice Award at the Get to Know International Unconference for his climate change slam poem.
  • In 2011, he was Co-President of the Surrey Youth Sustainability Network, President of Semiahmoo Earthworks, Event Organizer of ReThink Food Sustainability Innovation Challenge, and etcetera. While these all deal with sustainability, he has also helped the homeless of Surrey by founding Interfaith Food Distribution.

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