SYI Spotlight: Angella Osinde, Recoloring the Golden Triangle
by Rachel E. Anderson
With Environclub, Angella Osinde hopes to make the Golden Triangle green.
Osinde, a junior at the Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science, in Columbus, developed Environclub to tackle a lack of environmental awareness she observed in Columbus and in the other two Golden Triangle cities, Starkville and West Point. Environclub aims for a cleaner, greener environment by promoting recycling within local high schools.
It’s a project Osinde created at the William Winter Institute’s Summer Youth Institute (SYI). Each June, the 30 rising Mississippi high school sophomores and juniors who best navigate a rigorous application process–they are interviewed multiple times and write essays–attend SYI. The students spend nine days in Oxford participating in workshops focusing on relationship building, history, diversity, and civic engagement. Each student designs their own project, based on a need or problem within their local communities, and signs a contract to pursue the project for two years.
With Environclub, Osinde plans to establish a recycling program at MSMS and teach students how to be mindful about their trash.
Osinde became inspired to create Environclub after experiencing culture shock from moving to Mississippi. Having attended an eco-friendly school in North Dakota, she was surprised by how her new school, Starkville High School, did not have any recycling bins or other environmentally conscious services: “I wondered, ‘Why aren’t these actions repeated in the South? Doesn’t the environment matter here?’”
She knew she had to promote student participation and make schools greener to make a change within her community. Her goal is to launch Environclub at Starkville High School in spring 2016; she also will promote proper waste disposal through a partnership with the Mississippi State University Office of Sustainability.
“Angella is the perfect student for SYI,” said Melody Frierson, Youth Engagement coordinator at the Winter Institute. “She is a deep thinker and has this desire to make her community a better place. Her community is broader than the neighborhood she lives in. It’s wherever she lives at that moment, evolving with her. She’s always looking for a way to engage people around her.”
In the future, Osinde hopes for Environclub to expand as much as possible, initially into neighboring schools. She thanks SYI for teaching her the values to a make a difference in her community: “The most valuable thing I learned from SYI is patience. I learned that with anger, you should act methodical and not out of rage,” Osinde said.
Osinde and her determination to improve the environment embody what every SYI student and applicant should strive to be.
For more information on the Summer Youth Institute, visit http://winterinstitute.org/youthengagement/summer-youth-institute/
Rachel E. Anderson is a junior broadcast journalism and Spanish double-major at the University of Mississippi from Chesapeake, VA.