When you are passionate about something, you can’t help but pursue it everyday. You embody it and seek to share what you do or what it is, with the people around you. Li Yiyang is someone just like that. He’s very passionate, dedicated and proactive about going green — about living life, and treating nature and our environment in a more responsible and sustainable way.
“I hope that all of us in the SUTD family can be environmentally responsible, by actively greening our daily choices.”
It’s a simple vision, and one that we can all contribute and be a part of. After all, we cannot just talk about what we want to do, we have to do it. Being active and making concrete, tangible changes is one of Yiyang’s strong suits.
Should you be organising a student event in the future, be sure to first check out the Resource Management Department. You’ll be able to borrow from a growing inventory of equipment and useful items. This ‘Department’ is one of his initiatives, after noticing that there was unused leftover material after the Open House. People kept buying new things for future events, and there had to be a way to encourage a more sustainable and less-wasteful approach to events planning. “People are encouraged to borrow, instead of buying new items.” shared Yiyang.
“Many of us tend to focus too much on recycling, but not enough on reducing and reusing. Recycling takes a significant amount of energy, and it can never be as effective as simply using less.”
Going green is something that you can do everyday. What is one simple step you can take everyday that will have a huge impact as a community? Yiyang shared: “Use your own cutleries or lunchbox when ordering food for takeaway! Although washing these will take some water, it is still better than using disposables. Those disposables go through months of resource extraction, manufacturing, and transport, just to provide a user with half an hour of convenience.”
Another of Yiyang’s mini-initiatives was to encourage his fellow classmates to use the lights in the classrooms more efficiently. When a huge classroom was occupied by only a small group of students in one corner, Yiyang would make sure to switch the lights at the far unused end of the classroom off.
“At first, it was just me doing it. During term three, it was great seeing my friends and classmates do it as well, without me being there in the classroom”, shared Yiyang. This is a team effort, he emphasised. In fact, this would only have been possible with the support of the community. He went on to share: “I am very appreciative and thankful for my classmates’ support!”
One particularly rewarding moment for Yiyang was at the end of the freshmore term, when everyone wrote notes to each other. Yiyang shared with us a humorous and honest take from one of his classmates, “I was very touched. Some of the notes said something like, ‘Although you can be quite irritating, I’m inspired and respect you because you’re fighting for your cause.’”
For Yiyang, his drive to build a culture and a community that cares about sustainability and the environment goes hand-in-hand with his education at SUTD.
“Without the education and friends, I would be harping on small things, instead of looking at the big picture— at the systems-level. This wouldn’t have happened if I had not come to SUTD.”