Some 100 trees will be planted at two schools in Cloetesville in Stellenbosch as part of the World Student Environmental Network Global Summit next week.

It will be the first time that this annual summit, which is organised by students, is hosted in a developing country. Previous summits have taken place in Japan, Germany, Sweden, Switzerland and Canada. This year, Stellenbosch University (SU) is the host.

The main sponsors are the South African Department of Environmental Affairs, The Frederik Van Zyl Slabbert Institute for Leadership Development and the Sustainability Initiative as well as the Postgraduate and International Office at Stellenbosch University.

Close to 80 students from universities worldwide will gather in Stellenbosch from 30 June to 4 July, to look at collaborative and individual solutions to global environmental challenges.

“Each one of us can make a difference through finding solutions for problems on our campuses and in our communities,” says Pieter Botha, a member of the organising committee and co-founder of the student society EcoMaties.

The 100 trees that will be planted on Friday 4 July at Cloetesville Primary and High School, will not only contribute to the environment esthetically, but also help to offset the carbon footprint of the summit.

“The project is facilitated by (the NGO) Greenpop, but 40 out of the 100 indigenous trees are donated by the Stellenbosch Municipality’s Million Tree Project,” says Botha.

“It costs R300 to plant one of these trees, including the maintenance and education surrounding them. We are in need of financial support, and members of the public who would like to donate can do so via our GivenGain site.

Gunter Pauli, world-famous green entrepreneur and author of the acclaimed The Blue Economy is the key-note speaker on 1 July. He is speaking at 09:30 in the Wilcocks Building in Ryneveld Street.

Other speakers at the summit include Dave Pepler (environmental expert and presenter of the TV-program Groen), Eve Annecke (Founding Director of the US Sustainability Institute) and Edgar Pieterse (Director of the African Centre for Cities).

Any member of the public who would like to attend these free talks must please rsvp by sending an email to Emily at emilyvandermerwe@live.com. Please see the website, wsen2014.org for a full programme.

Anyone wishing to make a contribution to the tree planting project, can do so by visiting the following site: http://www.givengain.com/activist/117958/projects/8150/

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