What is Student Energy?
Student Energy is a movement that works towards connecting the “passionate youth”to a network of students that can begin thinking about the transition to a new energy future from local and global lenses.
Student Energy is driven by young leaders working towards solving energy issues. The student journey is rooted in a rich education around the energy transition delivered through various sources curated by unbiased authors, in an engaging format, through a systems lens approach. In addition to the content perspectives, students are immersed in a well connected network, with a shared inspiration to change the system. By gaining an in-depth knowledge and a deep understanding of the economic, social, and technological aspects that surround energy issues, students are equipped with tools to better understand how to facilitate the transition.
The Albertan Opportunity:
Student Energy started in Alberta. Co-founder Sean Collins has a sense of grittiness, pushing for constant conversation around the subject of energy transition. Into it’s 7th year of operations, Student Energy has gained support from the United Nations, gained traction on several university campuses and formed international chapters in Nigeria, the UK, and Indonesia. They currently have 50,000+ members, with an increasing international reputation. The movement’s large scope and scale is sparking global interests around a sustainable energy future.
As Albertans are beginning to dive more deeply into conversations and actions around climate issues, the environment, and our energy future, Student Energy fosters a mindset among students to inquire deeply and thoughtfully about the energy transition. The inquiring minds that are shaped by Student Energy will generate a pool of thought provoking youth that have the mindset to push the conversation in a new direction, possibly blending polarized perspectives around the issue. How can Alberta be more supportive in listening to the passionate student and support spaces to bring the global conversation home?
What Makes Student Energy Impactful?
Connected Cohorts: Student Energy is a collection of youth with an appetite for having conversations about systems change. They think together about innovative ideas to poke at what is possible. Without deep industry knowledge, the student body thinks in a particularly idealistic and hopeful manner. This common mindset, of self-wondering youth, creates an environment of trust and a community of belonging for the passionate amateur. As a result, students are able to have thoughtful, aspirational conversations about the possibility of energy transition.
Ideas and Perspectives: Student Energy hosts an annual International Student Energy Summit. At the Summit, students meet others from different countries facing diverse realities when thinking about energy transition, giving attendees a chance to learn the power of perspective on a global level. For example, there is pervasive rhetoric around how developing nations such as India should not invest in coal power because it has negative impacts on the environment. Yet, India as a country wants to develop on the same terms as more developed countries did in the past. When international students encounter each other and engage in global conversations with local focus, the power of perspective unfolds. The summit allows the passionate amateur to gain new insights to counter their own perspective. The most valuable things flowing through Student Energy are ideas and perspectives.
Keeping Alumni Engaged: Once students graduate, most end up working in the environmental sector, starting up businesses that support energy transition, or continue researching various aspects of the energy transition. Real world experiences shift the mindset allowing Alumni to introduce more experienced and complex perspectives on the topic. The passionate amatur evolves into a passionate professional sustaining the ideas of supporting an energy transition into the workplace. Student Energy Alumni attend local Innovation Jams and the COP21 in Paris where they continue to share and grow what they are learning through their work about how to thoughtfully and intentionally advance the energy transition field.
What Student Energy hopes for the future of Alberta:
1. To shift our culture towards a notion of wanting to be at the forefront of the energy transition. They believe it is time for our province to move away from the negative branding of "only oilsands" towards a clean and just energy future.
2. To build on the assets of intellect that exist in Alberta: Intellectual assets are formed at many scales of education. Alberta has an exceptional university system and the provinces public schools rate in the top ten internationally. Sean Collins believes "we have the right ingredients (capital, business, engineering) we just haven't combined them in the right way." To recognize our educational curriculums to support social innovation would push Alberta in a positive direction.
3. To begin leveraging what works, Sean Collins, the co-founder of Student Energy is an Energy Futures Lab Fellow. Energy Futures Lab brings together impactful energy thought leadership and action-ers from across sectors to reimagine the future of Canada and the globe. The opportunity housed in the Energy Futures Lab is an opportunity for Alberta, and the rest of Canada, to reimagine the country's energy future.