Lighthouse’s vision is for every young person to be capable of contributing to change for a more peaceful and sustainable future. Lighthouse works to realise this vision through its mission of providing UWC students with opportunities and resources to make meaningful change.
Lighthouse is an on-campus centre for meaningful changemaking at UWC Atlantic. Lighthouse builds on the UWC values by nurturing students’ creativity, idealism, and sense of stewardship while equipping them with skills and knowledge to initiate social change. We believe that creative confidence, resilience, and taking productive risks are necessary for innovation and envisioning a more peaceful and sustainable world. We also believe that a sufficient awareness and understanding of the challenges facing humanity are part of any meaningful changemaking. It is in the recognition of the role that individual agency must play for action to take place, together with a respect for the scale and complexity of the obstacles to peace and a sustainable future, that Lighthouse’s essence is located.
Lighthouse advances the UWC Atlantic “Vision to Action” plan and its commitment to education innovation. It forms a part of the efforts to reform the IB Diploma Programme and develop a signature curriculum for the 21st century - the Changemaker Curriculum.
Lighthouse is action-oriented and strives to make promising changemaking ideas turn into reality. To this end, we help students in all stages of project development, from creative brainstorming to pitching their ideas to donors. We currently support approximately 15 projects led by UWC Atlantic students. Each project working with Lighthouse must include four key ingredients:
- A sincere commitment to changemaking
- Involvement of at least one UWC Atlantic student
- Social entrepreneurship
- Engagement with UN Sustainable Development Goals
Our aim is that the students we engage with gain a strong theoretical and practical foundation in understanding what meaningful changemaking is, such that they will be able to make a real, lasting, and positive change to the world in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. This commitment has the benefit of guaranteeing any Lighthouse activity is answerable to the most widely adopted framework for sustainable global change and its attendant standards of research and expertise.
Lighthouse offers capacity-building opportunities for any student at UWC Atlantic who wants to be a meaningful changemaker, with a focus on empowering them through supporting project development and implementation. We aim to do so by providing students with inspiration, mentorship, opportunities for funding, skill building sessions, and connecting them with relevant resources and expertise. Moving forward, Lighthouse seeks to place engagement with UWC Atlantic's surrounding communities at the heart of what we do.
Lighthouse runs various initiatives to fulfill our mission. Our main activity this year revolves around:
- Weekly drop-in sessions for any students interested in developing an idea or project
- Pairing Lighthouse project leaders with dedicated, trained student mentors
- Bringing project leaders together to exchange ideas and tips
- Providing funding opportunities for students to develop and implement their projects
- Organizing an annual pitch competition to provide projects with significant funding for implementation
- Connecting current students to experts and alumni through talks, workshops, and individual meetings
- Various initiatives that support creative problem solving, ideation abilities, skills for innovation and design
- Consciousness raising of students, in line with the United World College mission.
"Listening to wonderful project presentations, that your friends created in a limited time, demonstrates how capable the people surrounding you are, and that a good impact can be caused if we take advantage of every minute of our lives",
Micaela Corvera Vargas ‘21 (Student Organizer)
The idea of a Lighthouse Hackthon was suggested by Lighthouse Keepers to foster innovation and meaningful changemaking, while at the same time providing students with a unique experience. Hackathons are large events where people meet to engage in collaborative problem solving. Many hackathons involve coding and programming, however, this was not the case in the Lighthouse Hackathon 2021 as we wanted to emphasize that innovation occurs culturally, socially, and personally, rather than exclusively in the tech world. The goal we had in mind as organizers was to create a space where work merges with play and where students have opportunities to harness the power of their creative minds to envision a more peaceful and sustainable world.
Students had 24 hours and had to work collaboratively in teams of 5 to create a solution to reduce food waste. All the teams managed to complete all the milestones (including a submission of a business plan), checked-in with an expert mentor, attended two workshops, and enjoyed social events: roasting marshmallows around a campfire and a Just Dance session.
Congratulations to all the teams on their hard work, honest endeavor, and creativity!
"When I was encouraged to take part in the first Hackathon in the school, I frankly did not know what to expect from this experience. Now with hindsight, I can say that it was a very fun and interesting learning experience.
We were presented with the huge issue of food waste that takes its toll in or outside the school and we were challenged to come up with a real-life project aimed to tackle it within 24 hours. It was quite impactful and inspirational as it was an exceptional chance to actualise our critical thinking and problem-solving skills and also challenge our time management skills. In an inclusive, collaborative environment, my team had 5 talented and thoughtful students whose great achievement is indebted to the collective teamwork and the shared enthusiasm.
It was one of my favourite experiences and I hope such Hackathons take place more often in the school because they are an opportunity for everyone to become a changemaker."
Zakarya Al-Thawr ‘22 (Team A to Z)
TAPIA app prototype developed by one of the teams.
If you would like to know more, or get involved with Lighthouse, please do get in touch!