Sailing down the Saône and Rhône rivers in a laboratory boat, opening a solidarity second-hand shop selling sports clothing and equipment, protecting the Mé river in Côte d'Ivoire... The winning projects in this year's Student Solidarity Awards combine awareness of student poverty with questions about water resources.
On Wednesday 7 June, Estelle Brachlianoff, Chief Executive Officer of Veolia, presented the Student Solidarity Prize to the Juste 2°C association for its Saône 2 Rhône project. Led by students from the Ecoles Normales Supérieures (Ulm, Paris Saclay, Lyon), Sciences Po (Aix, Lyon), Institut Agro Rennes, Isara Lyon and the University of Montpellier, Juste 2°C is a cross-disciplinary initiative.
From the upper reaches of the Saône to the delta of the Rhône, the project is inviting local stakeholders to explore their environment through a campaign combining research and encounters, to understand the human impact on rivers, and to question the way in which we want to live in them, now and in the future. To give concrete expression to this approach, a barge fitted out as a laboratory will sail down the Saône and Rhône rivers from March to June 2024. The patron, Guillaume Arama (Veolia Water, Centre-Est), will be accompanying them during the coming months of preparation.
The association Protection de la rivière Mé source d'alimentation en eau potable (Protection of the Mé river as a source of drinking water) was awarded the Public Prize following a massive mobilisation, with more than 5,000 votes cast for the projects selected to compete. Led by students from the Institut National polytechnique Félix Houphouët Boigny in Abidjan, the association is working on a programme to protect this essential resource around the river Mé. The project combines raising awareness among the villagers who live alongside the river with reforestation of the riverbank.
Lucille Delubac, a representative of Veolia's human resources department, presented the prize remotely to the student members of the association, together with their sponsor, Daniel Brigandat, director of the Mé drinking water treatment plant at Veolia West Africa.
The Jury's Prize was awarded to the Anestaps association for its project to set up a solidarity second-hand shop in Paris. Called Friperie Sport Planète, this sales and meeting point will enable students to buy low-cost sports clothing and accessories. The Staps students involved in the project are particularly in demand of this type of product. The project is spreading throughout France: Friperie Sport Planète is forming a network, with branches already open or planned in Limoges, Reims, Saclay, etc. With this regional involvement, Anestaps is establishing itself as a new player in a social and solidarity economy that promotes cohesion around the values of sport.
The Veolia sponsor of this project, Haidy Aron-Campan, from Veolia's human resources department, undertook to collect sports textiles within the group to replenish the stocks of Friperie Sport Planète.
The 52 projects submitted related to the Veolia Foundation's three areas of activity: humanitarian emergencies and development aid (27 projects), social links and support towards employment (13 projects), and protection of the environment and biodiversity (12 projects).
The winners receive a financial prize and the support of a Veolia sponsor to help them bring their project to fruition. Launched in 2008 by the Veolia Foundation in conjunction with the Group's Human Resources Department, the Student Solidarity Prize rewards innovative projects initiated by student associations in higher education in connection with the Foundation's major areas of action.