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GNS Student Helps Design an App for Sustainability

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Congratulations to Grade 9 student Zeinab Guitouni and her teammates for being awarded the first annual Westmont Prize: Toward Real Sustainability Grand Prize! The four team members will share a $10,000 scholarship towards their preferred universities or colleges. The team included Zeinab, her friend Thea who is in Grade 9 at Claremont Secondary School, and Grade 7 students Sebastian and Matteo from École Victor-Brodeur. They were the only team with students from different schools. 

“I’ve been in lots of clubs for the environment, and we all have been interested in making an impact,” Zeinab said about why they wanted to take part in the Westmont Prize. “I feel like this was a really great opportunity to put our ideas into action, and have good guidance. I’m really thankful for the opportunity—it was really great.” 

To compete for the Westmont Prize, students choose between five local sustainability topics to tackle: old growth logging; climate change; the toxic opioid crisis; affordable housing and living wages. They then had to come up with an idea to combat the crisis through a video pitch. 

Originally, Zeinab and her team wanted to do something on old growth logging. After some problems occurred in their project’s early stages, they adapted their ideas and switched to climate change. They chose to design an app to help youth maintain and build eco-friendly habits. 

“We are the future, and it’s our responsibility to ensure that we have a good environment,” she said. “It tracks your individual footprint and provides individual solutions that you can do to reduce your footprint.” 

In the app there are three zones (green, yellow and red) and people can see where they range, with the ultimate goal of getting into to the green zone. 

At the award gala on November 27, Zeinab and her team were announced as the grand prize winners in front of their peers. 

“Once they announced Team Five, we were shocked,” she said. There were all these other super amazing teams, and I was so impressed with everyone else there. I didn’t expect us to win—but, I’m really happy we did.” 

Next, the group wants to find a way to have the app actually designed and implemented. 

“We want to start to develop the app at one point,” she said. “That’s where we are heading. It will take a long time and a lot of work, but we are hoping this will become a solution that we can see in the future.” 

Way to go Zeinab!