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Progetto saVE: a student-led project for climate action

What happens when you submit a paper for the final evaluation? Sometimes you take a 30 cum laude, other times a 28, often times a 26, or lesser grades. And then what? In this blog post, you will read about how a research paper became a day-dream - an event presentation - a project proposal - and now a crowdfunding campaign.

The saVE project was conceived between April and June 2021 by a group of students from the University of Padua, with the support of the European university consortium, Arqus. The project aims at contributing to the race against climate change by focusing on climate education in high schools. Indeed, saVE’s originates from the interdisciplinary Spring School “Rethinking climate risk: the Venice paradigm” centred upon how the complex problem of sea level rise is affecting the city of Venice, its fragile lagoon and its aging community.

During the Youth Action Festival in September 2021, our research was presented as an example of the positive impact of youth activism. The connections fostered during the event resulted in tremendous support from professors, the Arqus chair in Padova and SET Padova. Reinvigorated by this boost, we submitted the project for the Call Impatto+ by Banca Etica, and were selected among the best youth initiatives on climate action to invest in for 2022. The saVE project is now the object of a crowdfunding campaign not only aiming to achieve an ambitious economic goal, but also determined to engage as many young people in the race against climate change as possible. But, allow me to introduce our innovative project Firstly, the acronym saVE is very telling: it stands for studenti attivi per la salvaguardia di VEnezia. Indeed, the project aims at the creative and critical involvement of young people, specifically high schoolers aged 15-19 y/o, in the protection of the city of Venice and its lagoon, through knowledge, responsible choices and concrete actions. In particular, the project involves the implementation and dissemination of an educational toolkit that refers to the problem of sea level rise in the Venetian context. In developing the educational toolkit, we realized that, despite the plethora of existing environmental programs, there is currently no initiative that proposes a creative and practical approach towards the safeguarding of Venice. The toolkit is based on the Challenge-Based Learning methodology, which, in the context of informal and experiential learning, empowers the individual student and their community by encouraging them to propose and implement solutions to problems with which they have got personal experience. The toolkit consists of three modules: Engage, Investigate, Act; and a field mobilization experience, all designed to ground the student in the history, present and future of Venice’s environmental significance.

So here’s our call to action! If you want to help bring the saVE project to real life, in a real noisy classroom, with real thrilled students; or if you once found yourself astonished in front of Venice’s immortal beauty; or perhaps you believe in environmental education as part of human rights discourse, then we urge you to donate to the saVE project. Thanks to your contribution, students will be able to personally gather information on the specific nature of the Venetian ecosystem. Each donor receives one of many thoughtful and sentimental rewards including; a unique piece of art from the Venetian artist Margherita Rossetti, or an ecological tour in the city of Venice with a social aperitif in a very typical Venetian Bacaro.

To learn more about the toolkit modules at the field visit: Together we can mobilize to mitigate the effects of climate change on the unique Venetian landscape with the saVE project.

Donate, support and share!

Written by Giulia Rosina

Edited by Christine Nanteza

Poster courtesy of Martina Villa and Irina Samson


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