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Meet Ye: Regional Coordinator for Greater China

Student Energy’s Global Youth Energy Outlook is led by a team of 12 youth Regional Coordinators who are working together to reach a total of 50,000 young people around the world in 2020 and 2021. As they engage young people in their region through a two-phase research process, the Outlook’s Regional Coordinators will be gathering insights and recommendations to develop the final Outlook report, with key findings set to be shared at COP26 in 2021.

In this interview series, we get to know each of our Regional Coordinators in-depth:

Introduce yourself and where you come from.

I am from Guangdong, a province in Southeast China. I grew up in an environment where China is starting to pay attention to environmental issues and take action on protecting the environment. We were taught that climate change is taking place and what mechanisms are behind it from our textbook and exams when I was in middle school. Our parents told us that they used to swim in the river and stare at the starry sky in their hometowns when they were young. I have never seen what they told me about in our hometown, and am well aware of the environmental issues [that are involved]. But I never thought of what I can do to make a difference until I did my undergraduate at McGill University, Canada.  I am currently a fourth-year Civil Engineering student, and I have been actively involved in lots of youth empowerment events and organizations, such as How to Change the World and Student Energy. I aspire to become an engineer who carries out sustainable design projects, and a global thinker who promotes sustainable development. 


What aspects of the energy system in your region do you plan to learn more about?

First, the current scale and scope of sustainability energy projects in China, such as what are the challenges and opportunities that they currently have. Second, what is the job market of sustainable energy in China and how can young people pursue sustainable energy in their future careers. 


What impact do you personally hope the Outlook will have in your region, and globally?

Many young people in China are well aware of the issues of climate change and would like to participate in promoting energy transition-related projects. Therefore, I hope that the Outlook can help identify the challenges that the young generation is facing which prevent them from being involved in more sustainable energy projects and jobs, and allow their voice to be heard by the stakeholders. In addition, many youth in China are not well aware of, or connected to, international organizations and opportunities in this field, such as webinars and conferences. I am lucky because I have the privilege to study at an international university, which allows me to have more access to many international empowerment opportunities. Besides, I realized that there is no Student Energy chapter in China currently, which might be due to the fact that university students in China are not informed of the opportunities and ways to be involved in many international projects. Therefore, I hope that the Outlook can be a resource with a global scope to help empower youth in China to be involved in the energy transition towards a more sustainable future by participating in sustainable energy projects and pursuing a career in sustainable energy-related sectors. I think this is the same for the youth globally: I hope that the Outlook can make their perspectives heard and carry out projects that allow more young people to have a better understanding of the sustainable energy industry and involvement opportunities.


How did you first get involved in Student Energy?

I met with Ms. Angela Paley, Project Manager at Student Energy, at a conference called How to Change the World (HtCtW). The conference and the organization aims to empower the young generation of engineers to participate in SDG projects and make positive impacts across the globe. It was held in February in Toronto, Canada, right before the outbreak of COVID-19 in North America. I had a chance to talk to her and she encouraged me to start a Student Energy chapter. Therefore, I asked some friends who participated in the HtCtW program and co-founded the chapter at McGill University, which is also the first one to be organized in Quebec. Currently, we are planning a year-long project which aims to provide sustainable cooling to refugee camps in Sub-Saharan Africa. If you are interested in our project, don’t hesitate to contact me!