Five RCBC Students Participate in a Global Summit Aimed at Saving the World
Wednesday, Oct 04, 2023
Camp 2030 Group Picture: LEFT TO RIGHT: Eli Booth, Merit Nwaigwe, Aislynn Fait, Lauwinda Cherilus, Erica Franklin, Dominique Parker and Samuel Adekunle.
<em>LEFT TO RIGHT: Eli Booth, Merit Nwaigwe, Aislynn Fait, Lauwinda Cherilus, Erica Franklin, Dominique Parker&nbsp;</em><em>and Samuel Adekunle</em>

Five Rowan College at Burlington County students were among dozens of young leaders from over 50 countries who gathered in New York to find sustainable solutions to real-world issues. 

The five, Samuel Adekunle, Eli Booth, Lauwinda Cherilus, Aislynn Fait and Merit Nwaigwe, participated in Camp 2030, which provided a collaborative and illuminating experience that helped form lasting memories and relationships. Two of the five received awards for their work at the conference.

Camp 2030 is a six-day innovation lab that brings young leaders from across the globe together to solve the Sustainable Development Goals put into place by the United Nations by the year 2030. Not only did campers get the chance to come together with those from around the world, but there were plenty of opportunities for fun at events such as Prom Night, Culture Night and Game Night. Each of these lighthearted activities contributed to a unique week-long adventure. 

To help the nearly 140 change makers focus on global goals while challenging the status quo, they convened at a rural campsite in the heart of New York at Camp Echo Lake. The camp featured many team-building experiences, such as rock climbing, ziplining and kayaking.

RCBC student Aislynn Fait was a tremendous camper who made a considerable impact during the program when her team worked to co-create solutions, earning them the number one ranking. After all the teams presented, Fait’s team triumphed for their solution for the Track 12 Responsible Production and Consumption. 

“I was excited about attending Camp 2030 and connecting with people from all over the world,” Fait said. “Then, to develop solutions to issues we all commonly face with a diverse perspective, as an individual, it can seem like an unfathomable idea that I have the power to make a difference in such a positive way.¨

When asked what her key takeaways were, Fait noted the privilege of connecting with all the attendees while discussing change-making ideas. “My team of five young women from different parts of the world–and even though we had only met a few days prior, it felt as if we’ve known one another longer,” she said.

LEFT TO RIGHT: Eli Booth, Merit Nwaigwe, Aislynn Fait, Lauwinda Cherilus and Samuel Adekunle
<em>LEFT TO RIGHT: Eli Booth, Merit Nwaigwe, Aislynn Fait, Lauwinda Cherilus and Samuel Adekunle.</em>

Another award-winning RCBC participant, Lauwinda Cherilus, received one of the few individual honors for innovation. She shared that after the Camp 2030 experience, she “feels more confident and inspired by all the fellow innovators from around the globe. I want to keep working on novel ideas to help the world be better for future generations.”

Cherilus said, “This experience inspires me to be a fearless leader and to be unafraid to use my voice so that people understand my perspective, valuing my background and experiences.”

Another Camp 2030 participant, Samuel Adekunle, said, “It was a tremendous opportunity to see life through other people’s lenses, leveraging on experiences outside of ours.”

He continued, “I spent six days meeting 150 new people from more than 50 countries, talking about world problems and understanding them as they affect us individually in our respective countries. It is easy to see life from (only) your perspective and think that your experience is absolute.” 

Samuel shared that being in a space like Camp 2030 reminded him of how myopic our views can be.

“To change the world, you must realize that the world is not (only) your space. It is a bigger platform with billions of people with varying and shared experiences and distinct interpretations,” Adekunle said. “You have to understand that fact to change it. Camp 2030 was the first step for me.” Erica Franklin, Experiential Learning Manager, said she knew Camp 2030 was a quality experience and worked to coordinate RCBC’s five delegates as part of the college’s increased focus on experiential learning. “We’re thrilled with the outcomes,” she said. “RCBC students received two distinct honors recognizing their excellence in a diverse field of impressive international representatives.”

Franklin noted, “I hoped the experience would stick with the students for life. I also hoped it would inspire them to continue their platforms and persist in being the changemakers they already are.”

Camp 2030 was a singular opportunity for our five RCBC delegates. It allowed youth leaders a platform to persuade others worldwide while having a fun experience. Participating in future Camp 2030 programs is an option that RCBC aims to provide in the coming years.