The Echo speaks to students across Cork who have been speaking out about social issues that matter most to them as part of the Young Social Innovators (YSI) Speak Out Week.
Students at Loreto Secondary School in Fermoy are determined to reduce fast fashion culture in our community through their YSI project.
The title of the students’ project is Fast Fashion and focuses on the ever-growing problem of fast fashion and the waste it generates.
Students involved in the project include Florence Dewhurst, Lisa Harrington, Niamh O’Mahoney, Róisín Leamy, Fiona Miao, Caroline O’Mahoney, Anna Grey, Rachel Mizilina, Sophia Lucey, Lucia Barry and Cliona Murphy.
Speaking to The Echo, Florence Dewhurst said that all those in the group have cooperated well together and have all contributed various different talents and skills to the group.
“Everyone in our group is determined to reduce fast fashion culture in our community by promoting more sustainable consumerism, through education and activities.
“We believe that people have the power to make environmentally friendly choices more often than they may realise.
“We think the voice of the youth deserves to be heard and taken into consideration more. By educating the next generation, we have a head start in solving our social issues,” she said.
The first action taken by the group was presenting an informative PowerPoint to younger students in the school about waste and fast fashion.
The group then brought the younger students litter-picking in the town to get them involved in the project.
A recycling campaign was also carried out for the first-year students to take part in.
Some members of the group also pitched at the YSI Den Pitches, where shortlisted teams pitched their innovative ideas to a panel of YSI Den dragons for access to the YSI Social Innovation Fund that comprises of money, means or mentoring.
Florence said that the team was convincing enough to receive €200 in funding to continue with future plans for the project.
The group also had a Speak Out day at the school where they watched other schools’ speak-out videos, learning about many other social issues in the process.
She said that the group’s biggest action to date will be organised when it is deemed safe to do so again.
“Our biggest action is yet to take place; we plan to organise a swap shop in our school, where students can trade good-quality, used items of clothing. By doing this, we are one step closer to achieving a sustainable and environmentally friendly community,” she said.