SOI Alumni to Meet The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge

Three Students on Ice alumni have been chosen to go to a special reception at Rideau Hall this evening with the Governor General of Canada, The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, the Prime Minister of Canada and Mrs. Laureen Harper.  The reception in honour of Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge is to celebrate the exceptional service of Canadian youth towards a smart and caring nation.

The event will bring together 120 Canadian youth who are dedicated to service both at home and abroad and who, through their actions, are building a smarter and more caring nation and planet.

The youth selected work in areas of service similar to those identified in the Royal Wedding Charitable Gift Fund:

•        support for service personnel and their families,

•        conservation for future generations,

•        children fulfilling their potential,

•        changing lives through art and sport

•        help and care at home

The participants will be gathered in groups with other participants who work in their specific area of service from right across the country.Their Royal Highnesses, Their Excellencies and the Prime Minister and Mrs. Harper will move from group to group and the participants will have the chance to tell them about the work and service they are doing in their communities.  This informal approach will give Their Royal Highnesses a unique overview of the diversity of service and creativity in the youth of this country and will allow the youth to make connections with potential partner organizations they may not have known before.

Congratulations Eden Full (Arctic ’09), Anthony Arreak (Arctic ’09) and Andrew Wong (Arctic ’10)!

EDEN FULL

An aspiring social entrepreneur, Eden Full is an International Baccalaureate graduate born and raised in Calgary, Alberta. Eden has a passion for science and technology. When she’s not playing the violin and bass guitar, rock climbing, or caring for her peach-faced lovebird named Birdie (Agapornis roseicolis), Eden is a sophomore majoring in Mechanical Engineering at Princeton University in New Jersey where she won a major entrance scholarship. On campus, she is the coxswain for the Princeton varsity women’s lightweight crew, the Vice-President of the Africa Development Initiative and a student researcher for the Global Development Network. The Founder and Director or Roseicollis Technologies, Eden has invented and developed solar panel systems that are cost-effective and viable for off-grid communities. Her social venture is dedicated to improving energy accessibility in developing countries. She just recently was awarded a prestigious $100,000 award from the Thiel Foundation for her work in the solar-energy field and she now plans to spend the next year in Silicon Valley working with venture capitalists to further her technology. Eden came with us to the Arctic in 2009.

ANTHONY ARREAK

Anthony Arreak, from Kuujjuaq, Nunavik (Québec) recently received the prestigious Canadian Future Achiever Award. This national award program encourages and rewards academically strong 9–16 year old Canadian visible minority youth who demonstrate positive self-fulfillment, and who serve every day as positive role models for youth in both their schools and greater communities. Anthony was a member of the 2009 Students on Ice Arctic Youth Expedition and a recipient of an International Polar Year Scholarship. He has a black-belt in karate and did a dance performance for former Governor General Michaelle Jean during her visit to Kuujjuaq. Anthony has competed and won many awards at the Arctic Winter Games as a member of Team Nunavik, and he was chosen to carry the Olympic Torch during its pass through Kuujjuaq.

“When Anthony Arreak, 15, ran on to the stage with the flame, many in the crowd had tears running down their face. After the festivities were over, Anthony, a popular local athlete, was mobbed by people who wanted their picture taken with him. His buddies all crowded around, too, wanting to touch the torch. The expression on his young face never changed. His smile was economical, his closed mouth turned up slightly at one corner. It was like he couldn’t offer anything more demonstrative because he was too tired from smiling. Or he was bemused by the attention. Or, more likely, he was in some state of shock. “I couldn’t believe all the people,” he said, as he tried to see through his fogged-up wire-frame glasses. “You just aren’t prepared for it. And then looking out at all the people on stage – it was like wow. How great is this?”
– The Globe and Mail

ANDREW WONG

For Andrew Wong, from Burlington, Ontario, the outdoors has always been a place of passion for him, to pursue his past-times of fishing, wildlife painting, photography, and taking care of his vegetable garden. At a very young age, however, he learned that the outdoor environment he loved was in danger, so he began advocating and acting for positive change. His dedication to the environment includes extensive volunteer efforts with the BurlingtonGreen Youth Network — a local non-profit environmental organization comprised of passionate youth from across the city. In high school, Andrew was the President of the Environment Club and Biology Club. He has also spent countless hours leading the restoration and management of an under-utilized greenhouse at his school. With a dedicated team of students, he established the Greenhouse Horticultural Society and they grew and sold geraniums as an annual fundraiser. Today the greenhouse provides educational enrichment to students studying horticulture, and is an inspirational accomplishment for students and faculty at Andrew’s high school.  Andrew is the founder and author of A Million Green Lights blog. His recent accomplishments and awards are impressive.  Andrew was actively involved in student life as a first year undergraduate student at the University of Western Ontario where he organized a major London, Ontario TEDx event, initiated environmental campaigns and enjoyed academic success. He will begin his second year of post-secondary studies in September at the University of Waterloo. He was the  Toyota Earth Day Scholarship National Award Winner 2010. Won the  Canada’s Next Green Journalist (2011),  Ontario Music Festival’s Association Provincial Competition, Open Level, Honourable Mention (2007), and received the Earth Rangers Ambassador scholarship to join the Students on Ice Arctic Youth Expedition 2010.  Most recently, Andrew has become a Program Intern with Earth Day Canada, a Program Manager and Executive Assistant for the We Canada Initiative.

From today’s Hamilton Spectator:

Burlington student takes Greyhound to meet royalty

Hamilton's Andrew Wong, who is slated to meet the young royal couple, shown on a recent trip to the Canadian Arctic. 

Students on Ice. Hamilton’s Andrew Wong, who is slated to meet the young royal couple, shown on a recent trip to the Canadian Arctic. Photo Source: Special

Mark McNeil, The Hamilton Spectator

June 29, 2011

Going off to meet royalty conjures images of a luxurious ride in a horse-drawn coach, maybe sipping tea along the way, with servants throwing their coats in puddles to keep your feet from getting wet when you arrive.

But 18-year-old Andrew Wong of Burlington will tell you the reality is much different as he meets Prince William and Duchess Catherine Thursday at Rideau Hall in Ottawa.

How did he get to Ottawa from this part of the world? By Greyhound bus from Toronto — $110 return.

“I’m just a university student who is not very rich, so I (couldn’t) afford to take the train.”

The University of Waterloo environmental and urban living student is part of a youth delegation invited to attend a reception in honour of the prince and duchess. . Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his wife, Laureen, as well as Governor General David Johnston and his wife, Sharon, will also be there.

The 6 p.m. event, with 120 young Canadians in attendance, is to celebrate “exceptional service of Canadian youth towards a smart and caring nation.”

And even though he had to dig deep into his student pocket to get to Ottawa on Wednesday, Andrew is thrilled to be meeting Wills.

Wong, who was born in Burlington and attended Nelson High School before going on to university, is one of three representatives of Students on Ice Expeditions, an organization that takes young people into Canada’s Arctic and the Antarctic to better understand climate change and other ecological issues.

He went on the Arctic trip last summer, and Geoff Green, the guy who runs the program, liked Chong so much, he forwarded his name to Rideau Hall for consideration to attend the event.

Chong was gobsmacked when he got the call last week from Rideau Hall.

“They said, ‘Andrew, you are invited to meet the Governor General, the Prime Minister as well as Prince William and Kate next week.’ I was really in disbelief. These are all incredible people. Everyone knows who they are. You see them on the news all the time. It’s not every day that you get to meet them in person.

“It’s incredible to meet Prince William. I could be shaking hands with a future king.”

He says he’s “not one of those diehard royalty followers,” but did watch news highlights of William and Kate’s wedding earlier this year. “I saw some of the coverage. I was really happy for them.”

If he gets the chance to talk to the prince and duchess, he says he will tell them about his “firsthand experiences in the Arctic. I’ll share with them how the Arctic is a very beautiful and fragile place. It faces many challenges that the world needs to know about.”

He’ll explain how he saw a melting glacier and “all sorts of other effects of climate change. But what really touched me was the day-to-day challenge that the Aboriginal people up there face, such as poverty.”

He says maybe, just maybe, he might be able to encourage William and Kate to become “advocates of the polar regions, to help bring international efforts to protect and further support these regions.”

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