'Building a Sustainable and Healthy World’ Homerton College Student Conference

Homerton College asked young people to explore their own solutions to the pressing issue of tackling climate change.

By Emma Menniss 4min read

Whilst it is back to school this week for students all over the UK, over the summer some Year 11 and 12’s were at Homerton College, Cambridge, focussing on building a more sustainable world.

Over 200 students took part in one of the largest student conferences in the UK over the Bank Holiday; a packed weekend of learning, debate and discussion on how we can work together to build a sustainable and healthy world.

As part of our commitment to widening participation, Homerton asked current Year 12 students across the UK to participate in an Essay Programme or Design Programme, with those from UK state schools who were awarded Highly Commended, then invited to attend the full residential programme at Homerton. 21 current Homerton students and 20 Homerton staff/ external facilitators supported the event.

Topics discussed over the weekend included: Social and Political Perspectives on Sustainability; Sustainable energy storage; Exploring the media coverage of climate protest movements; Sustaining the health of our workforce: balancing demand, resources and efficiency;  Building a Sustainable World whilst maintaining the Health and Wellbeing of global citizens.




Dr. Paul Elliott, Science Admissions Tutor, Director of Studies in Biology who organised the conference said: “Homerton was delighted to host over 200 students on our annual student sustainability and health conference, which included guest lectures, discussion groups and activities. We also awarded prizes for our annual essay and design competitions for which we had over 300 participants. The conference is the highlight of our year in terms of outreach, and we hope that it will continue to grow and inspire the next generation!”


Conference Hall


Student Emilie De Charentenay commented: “The conference was packed full of activities about the multi-faceted issues of sustainability; from media coverage of climate protests, sustainable energy storage, and zoonotic diseases. It felt amazing to congregate in a space filled with so many kind and intelligent sixth formers who all cared so much about our environment. The roundtable discussion on "building a sustainable world whilst maintaining the wellbeing of global citizens" exceeded my hopes in creating a platform to discuss sustainability, from a range of different perspectives, that has left me feeling more confident in how young people can advocate for change. Homerton Staff… were all so welcoming and truly encouraged the voices of young people to be heard in such pertinent discussions.”

Student Peter Tran said: “It was an extremely eye-opening experience, as I met so many passionate people who had brilliant ideas from both the essay programme and the design programme. The ambition from everyone I met has inspired me and I will try my hardest to succeed in my Cambridge application so I can meet as many of those amazing people in the future!”

Student Erin Rose Morris said: Not only was the convention incredibly engaging and insightful, I met so many incredible and like-minded people and made some amazing friends!
Having the opportunity to meet with and talk with a number of authors from across Europe was incredible and extremely motivating for my own career ambitions. Furthermore, the opportunity to engage in debate around the role of young people in sustainable development was extremely eye-opening…”

Student Khatija Khan said: “This experience was my first time at Cambridge Homerton college and I thoroughly enjoyed the packed day on campus. My favourite conference session was with Marianne Allison Lee on traffic, investigating wildlife trade supply chains and keeping it sustainable through policy reform, inter agency collaboration and social and behavioural changes.”



Highest marked essay of the Homerton College Essay Programme: Alexandra Jennings ‘There is no Planet B. Discuss’

Best essay: Ben Taylor ‘There is no Planet B. Discuss’.

Best essay: Erin-Rose Morris The only way to build a sustainable future is through science. Discuss’.

Best essay: Srija Devinani ‘All we need is a carbon tax. Discuss’.

Best essay: Moin Gazi ‘Evaluate a strategy or policy developed to improve health and/or reduce health inequalities’.

Best essay: Rayn Lakha ‘Evaluate a measure that could be implemented in your community to make it more sustainable and/or healthy’.

Best essay: Nancy Jacob and Minna Lipton ‘To what extent do you agree with the statement ‘ensuring healthy lives and promoting well-being at all ages is essential to sustainable development?’’


Highest marked project of the Homerton College Design Programme: Shivam Singh, Yash Patel and Om Patel: Designed a speaker which aims to reduce noise pollution caused by machinery in the construction industry with the aim of reducing negative health impacts on construction workers.

Best report for the Design Programme: Kevin Vivekross and Joshua Chamberlain.

Most creative entry for the Design Programme: Nikitha Achar and Erin Cassidy Daculla Cuna.

Best presentation for the Design Programme: Rosita Mohammad Zazeh, Taleh Bloch, and Greta Zordan

Most developed entry for the Design Programme: Zinlin Zhou, Zecheng Zhu, Zicheng Tang and Ziyang Qi.