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Centennial’s green campaign spurs global clean up

More than 15,000 international students and educators across the world turned out to clean up their local shorelines and parks to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Centennial College in Canada.

Students and staff around the world participated in the campaign. In Vietnam, future students and office staff picked up the beach at Hai Phong. Photo: Centennial College.

The one-day celebratory event even received congratulations from Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

The institution’s campaign “Paint the Town Green” launched on September 27, inspired staff and students in Asia, Latin America and Canada to organise environmental clean ups and tree plantings in 11 parks in Toronto and 14 cities around the world.

In South Korea, students from Centennial’s partner Hanyang Woman’s University cleaned up Cheonggyecheon recreational space in Seoul. “The value I’ve learned through this event is to be a global citizen who knows how to serve the community where I live,” said one student.

“I’ve learned through this event how to be a global citizen who knows how to serve the community where I live”

In Vietnam, future students and office staff cleaned litter from the beach at Hai Phong.

“This event not only gives me a chance to protect marine environment by picking up trash around the coast but it’s also a great chance for me to develop an excellent network of individual relationships,” said future Centennial student, Pham Thi Dai Trang, from Hai Phong.

Meanwhile, in Mexico international staff and alumni picked up rubbish in Parque Mexico and in Brazil future students cleaned up Stella Maris Beach in Salvador.

Toronto mayor John Tory wrote and tweeted about the event and #Centennial50 was officially trending on Twitter in Toronto with more than three million impressions.

The one-day celebratory event even received congratulations from Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau who said the initiative was a wonderful way to “mark this milestone” and “to give back to the wider community”.

“Paint the Town Green” reflects the initiative’s environmental mission as well as Centennial’s corporate colours. And the celebration hasn’t finished – the college has also announced a photo contest for future, current and graduates students with five CAN$1,000 prizes.

Students can enter to win the Green Leadership awards by submitting a photo via social media tagged with the campaign’s official hashtag, #Centennial50. Entries will be accepted until January 3, 2017.

Speaking with The PIE News, Ann Buller, president & CEO of Centennial, said feedback from the event has been “overwhelmingly positive”.

“This would not have happened without our extraordinary leadership and project teams, the expertise of our environmental science faculty and students, the committed international team to facilitate parallel efforts in other nations, and all of the truly engaged and enthusiastic participants,” she said.

“This was not only a great start to the academic year, but a great start to the next chapter in Centennial’s story.”

In 50 years, the college says it has recruited some 40,000 international students. In 1994, it hosted 98 foreign students and today has more than 6,800 full-time international students from 132 countries.

Twenty-four percent of international students at all Ontario Colleges attend Centennial College.

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