From 9th to 28th September 2021, students of the NSUACE (Sibstrin), at the invitation of the Department of Energy, Housing and Communal Services of Novosibirsk City Administration, joined the Ecoyard series of environmental education campaigns.

Ecoyards are held as a part of the implementation of Comfortable Urban Environment National Project and are aimed not only at making people appreciate the conditions that are created in the yards of their apartment buildings, but also at environmental education, and the culture of separate waste collection, in particular, Maria Sidorova, Chairman of the Committee for Environmental Protection of the Novosibirsk City Administration, says. “Therefore, as a part of the campaign, children take part in an environmental quest conducted by students, and all residents can bring garbage for recycling and get sweet prizes”. For running the campaign in each district we chose one or two yards, that fell under Comfortable Urban Environment program and were landscaped within the framework of the national project this year. In total, 37 yards were landscaped in 2021 and there will be signs installed on their territory stating that the national project has been implemented.

The aim of the campaigns is to unite the residents of the yards with an important idea of comfort and environmental friendliness, and a large role in this was assigned to student volunteers of Sibstrin. It was them who had to tell schoolchildren, the most important participants of Ecoyards, about an environmentally friendly lifestyle and separate waste collection. To do this, with the methodological support of All-Russian Public Organization of Ecological Volunteers “Do it!” students conducted EcoGTO relay race, which allowed them to know more about the benefits of recycling and environmental trends, as well as consolidate their new knowledge in practice. Sibstrin volunteers coped with the task – children of different ages participated in the activities of the campaign with genuine interest and excitement.

- I liked talking to schoolchildren about ecology. I explained them what needs to be sorted, how to do it and why, and what, on the contrary, cannot be recycled. I was also pleasantly surprised that some children already know, for example, that receipts cannot be handed over to waste paper, which I didn’t know at their age. I think this is very important as the future belongs to ecology, to eco-thinking. I hope that in the near future everyone will sort garbage, and such campaigns give an impetus to forming new environmentally literate habits. I would like to say thank you to the organizers of Ecoyards for giving me a chance to participate. I’m glad to be a part of it, - shared 4th year student of Environmental Engineering Faculty Irina Safiulina.

By participating in Ecoyard campaign, adults and children right in the yards of their own houses could hand over recyclable materials (waste paper, plastic lids, used batteries, as well as clothes) to an eco-car, provided by Spetsavtokhozyaystvo Municipal unitary enterprise, one of the organizers of the campaign, and get a tasty reward for this from another partner – OOO Kupinsky Ice Cream. The recyclables will then be recycled and the clothes will be donated to those in need. The organizers calculated: in total, more than 84 kg of batteries, 173 kg of waste paper, 29 kg of plastic caps and 386 kg of clothes were collected from 7 Ecoyards.

As for NSUACE (Sibstrin), 36 students and undergraduates of the university, including 21 first-year students, took part in the campaign. The students were coordinated and supported by the director of the Institute of International Affairs, Deputy Head of the UNESCO Chair Natalia Sineyeva.

- We were invited to participate in the campaign by the City Administration represented by Maria Sidorova and Russian Public Organization of Ecological Volunteers “Do it!” in the person of Ksenia Dudina, - says Natalia Valerievna.

- It seems to me that it is right to teach not only adults, but also children how to sort waste, and it is no less important that this knowledge is carried by young people. And I like that we have such campaigns where students share their experience with schoolchildren, attract their attention, explain and show. Both sides win.

Groups 171 and 181 of Environmental Engineering Faculty turned out to be Sibstrin’s most numerous ‘eco-force”. For students, this was the first experience of participating in public environmental events, and many have already decided to become members of NSUACE (Sibstrin) eco club Kodama in order to further develop in the environmental direction.

- The campaigns were great. On behalf of those who are just starting their journey in eco-volunteering I would like to thank the organizers: this is what we lacked to join Sibstrin eco-movement, - shared a student of group 181 Ekaterina Vakurina. – Apart from this, in my childhood I had a dream to be a teacher, as it was interesting for me to teach children a little younger than us all we know about ecology, about separate waste collection, and in the process of this “training” we ourselves gained new knowledge.

First-year students are engaged in one more important initiative – they participate in forming the English-language base for participating in such events – this material is needed for foreign grants. As a result of Ecoyard campaigns an environmental video in English will be made.

- I would like to say thank you to all the guys who participated, especially to the newcomers. Most of all, I liked the enthusiasm of the younger generation, both our first-year students and younger participants of the campaign. Even though they are schoolchildren, but they already know so much about ecology and they are starting to push their parents to start sorting garbage, not to throw out the lids. This is great, as many adults are not sufficiently aware of environmental problems”- says Christina Ritter, an active eco-volunteer, participant and coordinator of numerous campaigns, master student of NSUACE (Sibstrin) Ecological Engineering Faculty. Children are our future and it is important that the younger generation be environmentally educated.

Following the results of the campaigns, Maria Sidorova, Chairman of the Committee for Environmental Protection of the Novosibirsk City Administration, noted that the students of NSUACE (Sibstrin) demonstrated a high level of work at Ecoyards interactive platforms.

- Thanks guys, I was glad to interact with you. It is not the first time that the city administration, together with Sibstrin studens, with the university as a whole and the international UNESCO chair, is carrying out topical environmentally-oriented projects of current importance. And they always turn out to be on a high level.

On September 30, student volunteers gathered at the UNESCO Chair of NSUACE (Sibstrin) to discuss their impressions and plans for the future at tea with biscuits. The director of International Affairs Institute Natalia Sineyeva thanked the students and summarized the results of the campaigns, emphasizing that the most active participants will be recognized by the organizers.

The photos used are provided by 181 group student Anna Malafeevskaya