2023 is coming to an end and as always this is the time when we look back over the past 12 months behind us and and the highlights that marked this period.
We kicked off the year with plenty of effort from our Leadership team, working hard on preparing our flagship LEAP programs. The focal point in the first month of the year was recruiting students to participate in our upcoming cohorts of LEAP YOUth and LEAP Researchers. Alongside it, January also saw the new group of volunteers step into their roles supporting our fundraising team.
The year truly started to unfold in February as we hosted the oikos Community semester kick-off event, marking the beginning of a new semester across universities worldwide, as well as the local chapters’ activities on their campuses. The first even LEAP YOUth Summit was hosted in February, prepared and organized by the participants of the previous cohort as an opportunity to practice skills attained through their responsible leadership journeys. Our Sustainable Finance team came together and hosted a series of events featuring prominent speakers from organizations such as the World Bank, Violation Tracker, and more.
An important part of the month was the recruitment drive for potential candidates to be elected by our community as the new oikos International Co-President. oikos Consulting started off their year preparing the Big Circle Gathering that took place in March and set the path as they went on to explore various topics in the format. Joao Pedro Braga and Stephen Snider published and article addressing the importance of a just and sustainable ecological transition and the role of students in that process. 2023 cohorts of LEAP YOUth & Researchers kicked off online in March, with an in-person LEAP YOUth Kick-off Meeting in Cologne. The month was wrapped up with the oikos Winter School, traditional annual workshops hosted by the oikos Witten/Herdecke chapter.
For the first time since 2019 an oikos legislative Meeting was held in person, in Copenhagen, where the local chapter hosted the International Chapter Conference which was merged with their annual Green Week project. At the Meeting, among other things, the oikos Community voted for the four candidates and elected Michael Winter as the oikos International Co-President for 2023 to 2025. Throughout April we ran the most engaging Community Impact Contest so far, where oikos St. Andrews, Warsaw and Graz were the winners in the living, learning, and leading categories, respectively.
Throughout May our initiative teams were hard at work in preparing the in-person events ahead of a busy summer for oikos. During this period we hosted a number of smaller-scale online events like oikos Agora, as oikos Consulting and our Sustainable Finance team hosted further Big Circle Gatherings and the series of webinars respectively. This month, oikos St. Gallen hosted an oikos Alumni meet up in Zurich, bringing together former oikees from even beyond the local chapter.
We were excited to once again join in the PRME Global Summit in person in June. On behalf of oikos Lauriane Dietrich represented student voices at this global event, connecting with fellow youth organizations acting to transform education. With oikees heading to their well-deserved summer breaks, we hosted the Semester Reflection call, as the space to gather the community and look back upon the chapter efforts and challenges faced over the past months.
July marked the beginning of oikos CAMP. The project teams were coming together throughout the month, as all participants embarked upon their week-long experience near Barcelona, where they not only got to advance their projects but also their personal development. Our Leadership initiative joined forces to host the first in the series of LEAP Life webinars, open for the public to join, regardless of their participation in other LEAP programs. We also teamed up with mympact in hosting an online event around the topic of sustainable entrepreneurship, enriched with their expertise in the field.
Much of oikos CAMP spilled over into August, with the public showcasing of the projects the four teams had been working on during the week-long program. Throughout the month we ran an online campaign, inviting oikees to participate and make their voices heard. Posing the question of what they would do as a rector of a university for a day, we once again witnessed the innovative and bold perspectives of our student community sharing their thoughts and ideas. In August, we marked the middle point of LEAP YOUth 2023 cohort with an onsite Mid-Term Meeting. It was also the first time this program allowed it’s participants to reevaluate and decide on their commitment in the second half of the 9-month journey, where most chose to commit entirely.
September marked a slower period, nestled in between the busy Summer and Autumn months, as our student community was transitioning into the new academic year. It also marked the beginning of a transition period within oikos International team, as the 2023 Board was reaching the end of it’s mandate, opening up the space for other community members to take their spot, along with a shift in the Management team with new faces coming in to work on the next year’s projects.
We kicked off the new semester with an Orientation Call – a reimagined online community event taking the role of traditional Semester Kick-offs. The second annual Legislative Meeting as usual took place online around this time, where the oikos Community elected 7 new oikos International Board members for 2024, while oikos Nottingham was approve the full chapter status. After months of hard work on the preparation, together with our partners from COPERNICUS Alliance, oikos Academy was hosted as the prelude to the Higher Education Summit in November. Another important milestone was the launch of LEAP4U – a campaign that for the first time could allow us to give back to our donors, opening up the opportunity for them to experience LEAP workshops.
One of our most important projects of the year was the Higher Education Summit – an annual conference hosted by the COPERNICUS Alliance discussing and tackling challenges and opportunities in driving change in higher education. As a global student network we were happy to take part in the ‘student takeover’ – a twist to the usual format, highlighting the role of students in driving change on their local campuses and beyond. In November, we once again hosted the Community Impact Contest, with oikos chapters showcasing their efforts from the previous semester, where oikos Jamshedpur were voted the winners by the community for their ‘Basic Learning Programme’.
December brought a huge oikos milestone, as we celebrate 25 years of the founding of oikos International and the creation of the worldwide network under its umbrella! We successfully concluded another exciting semester with a Community Reflection Call. This month marked the end to LEAP YOUth and LEAP Researchers 2023 cohort, as the participants came together for the last time, 9 months after the kick-off. It is also a month where we look towards the next year. LEAP Researchers brings in exciting change to the program as we’ve teamed up with PRME to bring you the biggest one yet! Alongside it the Impact Investing Fellowship is also in it’s late stages of preparations and recruitment as we’re looking to a strong start to 2024! It is also marking the final step in the internal transition with the new Board and the Co-President completing the handover, along with a shift within the Management Team.
With this burst of fresh energy, we’re without a doubt that the start of the next year will bring in lots of excitement, as we look forward to making our impact even stronger as a community, fostering change within campuses and beyond!