Some 50 university students from all over the world hiked the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Trail in Leysin, Switzerland, on October 26, 2019. The event was part of the LEAP Meeting 2019, a week-long leadership training that encourages participants to become responsible leaders at the forefront of sustainable development.
The expedition was led by two 9th graders, Antonio and Sean, and their teacher John from the Leysin American School (LAS). The group and two other students from the LAS’s edge program crafted the route and matched the 17 Goals to landmarks across Leysin.
Before leaving the starting point, Hotel Central Residence, Antonio and Sean decided to first head to the LAS Student Council (linked to SDG 16 – Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions), where “students make decisions for a greater good of the school and environment”, and walk the trail down from there. “This way we won’t get too tired.” – they explained.
The favorite stop for everyone involved was by far the Beau Site Garden. The Garden was linked to many SDGs, including Goal 2 – hunger, Goal 3 – Good Health and Well being, Goal 4 – education, Goal 9 – innovation, Goal 11 – sustainable communities, and Goal 13 – climate change. “The Garden helps with various problems. Being outside, gardening, producing homegrown vegetables and eggs, these all point toward good health and well being.” – described the edge team in their text for the Map. Antonio and Sean explained that LAS students work and take care of the garden, while everyone is welcomed to take plants and vegetables. “Gardening requires time and attention. It’s great, except when it rains.” – said Antonio. The little garden was indeed charming. Its edible flowers, ponds, frogs, and bees captivated the hikers. The boys even had to hurry them up to make sure that they saw as many landmarks as possible.
The next stop was at the Beau Site Dorm (linked to Goal 5 – gender equality), where “every girl, unlike in many other schools, could herself determine what type of clothes she could wear”. From there, the hikers hastily went to the Maison De Commune (linked to Goal 11 – sustainable cities and communities) and Telecabine (linked to Goal 9 – industry, innovation, and infrastructure). Unfortunately, the trail was too long, and the oikos LEAP Meeting program too packed to continue the hike beyond the scheduled two hours. So, the hikers, tired but cheerful, had to head back to the hotel.
Antonio, Sean, and John engaged the LEAP hikers in discussions about SDGs and introduced them to the past and present of this little Vaudois town in the process. The edge program students also developed Google MyMap of these locations – available via this url link – to turn the route into a permanent trail that can be used by any Leysin local or visitor in the long term.
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity by 2030.
oikos is an international student network for sustainability in economics and management education. Against the background of pressing environmental, economic and social challenges, we stand with a mission to transform economics and management education by empowering student change agents, raising awareness for sustainability opportunities and challenges, and building institutional support for curriculum reform.
Leysin American School is an international boarding school that has been bringing enriching, educational experiences to students since 1961. From practical, engaging in-class academics to experiential learning on international cultural trips, the school believes in bringing together students from around the world and providing them with an education that sparks their curiosity and encourages them to be the best global citizens they can be. Learn more about LAS here: www.las.ch