A core component of the IB course is the CAS (Community, Activity, Service) program which aims to promote a balanced lifestyle for students throughout their IB years. One aspect of this, is the CAS Project that students have to design, with the Campaign Day as the highlight of the experience.
Throughout the project, groups work together with one of BIS’s Community Partners in order to raise awareness and funds for their cause and organisation. Our group chose to work with Project Aware. Wednesday the 4th December marked the designated BIS-based campaign day for Project Aware, where the groups had the opportunity to get creative in setting up a campaign stall in order to raise awareness on marine environments and funds for Project Aware.
Project Aware was initiated by the Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI®) in order to increase environmental awareness, and has become one of the most widely spread NGOs in the field, educating and campaigning for the well being of our oceans. Their two main focuses are to encourage sustainable improvements on the matter of protecting sharks and stingrays, and reducing marine litter.
Some of their methods include (co-)organizing beach and reef cleanup events, encouraging and supporting shark/litter monitoring, creating petitions, and training divers on better diving practices.
In regards to the latter, some students will have the opportunity to get involved with this during the annual year 12 tripsweek. One of the five trip options, the diving trip in the Philippines is linked with Project Aware.
Our Campaign Day
At our campaign day stall, we advocated for the reduction in plastic use as a means to reduce the accumulation of marine debris and to protect marine creatures. Much of our campaigning was done using visual elements: our stall's roof, supported by a bamboo structure, was formed using plastic bottles that we collected and that we attached in overflowing nets.
In our stall and around the school, we hung up educational posters about the issue of plastic trash, marine animals and Project Aware. Another aspect of our campaign was the “Trash Tunnel Aquarium”, a concept mimicking the effect of walking through a tunnel aquarium, an enchanting experience that many are familiar with, and just for that reason we gave it a twist. Instead of clear blue walls of water, they were surrounded by trash with rubbish and posters along its entire length. We showed facts on our ocean's state against backgrounds picturing dying birds amidst the rubbish. Our intentions with the tunnel were to shock people a little with this perspective on the underwater world in the hopes that they would understand the importance of acting now.
Of course, we didn't want to dishearten people with our material to the extent that they would become inclined to give up on our marine environments. Our main message was to show that we can still improve the situation. We formulated a pledge which people could sign to actively commit to improving their personal impact. To help students wind down again, they could play rounds of Flip-The-Bottle for only 10,000VND, whereby the lucky (or skilled?) ones could win a delicious home-baked cupcake (which we also sold separately).
The above was mainly done with the purpose of raising funds for Project Aware, which we also did through selling self-created merchandise.
Our Project Aware Merchandise
One of our products was the keychains. Designed and made by some of the DT enthusiasts in our group, the small sharks and turtles engraved with facts were unique, fun little accessories. The idea for this was to create a product without causing plastic waste, so instead wood scraps - MDF - were used. Each exemplar was hand-painted, glued and attached to a keyring by group members.
The drawstring bags printed with either a shark or stingray also proved to be very popular.
The CAS project was a very interesting experience in which we all learnt a lot: the whole process of having to come up with ideas, plan them out, execute them and achieve good results required every one of us to contribute and combine our skills together. It was not an easy task to do, but all that we achieved through it - our expanded knowledge, new connections, newly acquired and further developed skills, and of course our success raising awareness and money for our cause - made it worth it five times over.
Year 12 CAS Group - Project Aware