© Peter Nguyen / WWF-Canada

Designing Change for a Living Planet

Over 100 post-secondary students will be designing change with WWF-Canada this spring

Students can design a future for both wildlife and people

While Canada is home to much of the world’s last remaining intact ecosystems, it needs your help. Canadian wildlife are facing serious threats, including climate change and habitat loss. WWF-Canada is calling on Canadians to take hands-on action to help steward, protect and restore nature in communities where they live, learn and work. Together, we will fight climate change through conservation action.

We need to regenerate habitat and create healthy corridors for wildlife. We need to create networks of conservation action across the country. We need to inspire Canadians to roll up their sleeves alongside us.

Young professionals like you have important voices and perspectives. This year, over 100 post-secondary students from across the country will be designing and pitching their best ideas that will inspire action at Designing Change for a Living Planet 2021 from May 29 – June 5. Do you have ideas that will mobilize Canadians to take action for nature? The application period for this year’s event has closed. Stay tuned to next year for your chance to apply for the opportunity to design change.

How it works

Drawing inspiration from the everyday and your unique academic background, as a participant you will have the opportunity to:

  • Represent your campus
  • Create and innovate with WWF-Canada and  a team of students
  • Gain skills and experiences in leadership and teamwork
  • Connect with other post-secondary students and staff from other Canadian colleges, universities, and CEGEP schools
  • Develop new contacts with professionals from various industries
  • Present your concept to WWF-Canada staff and a panel of expert judges
  • Compete for our grand prize: A WWF grant for your campus to help nature thrive at your school

The application period for this year’s national online event has closed.   Successful students will be notified by May 11, 2021.

© WWF-Canada

Frequently Asked Questions

When and where is the event?

The event will be held online over three half days, including Saturday, May 29, Sunday, May 30, and Saturday, June 5, 2021.

What will each day entail?

  • Saturday, May 29: Connect with your student team, and network with WWF-Canada and industry experts. Content and instructions about the competition will be provided.
  • Sunday, May 30: Create and innovate, spending the day with your team to design and finalize a concept that will mobilize action for nature.
  • Saturday, June 5: Present your final team concept to our panel of judges.

When is the application deadline?

The application period has closed. To have been considered, students must have applied by 11:59 p.m. EDT Sunday May 9, 2021.

How can I register to participate?

The application period has closed for this year’s event.

When will successful applicants be notified?

Successful applicants will be notified by May 11, 2021, and introduced to their team before the event. All students will be updated on the status of their application by May 14, 2021.

How does the competition work?

Student teams will be given time to ideate together, create their idea and prepare a presentation. Each team will have the opportunity to present their concept to a panel of judges for the chance at the grand prize for their campus.

What is the grand prize?

The grand prize is a conservation grant for your campus that will support action that helps nature thrive. WWF-Canada will work closely with your campus to identify and support an existing or new project idea that will help protect or restore nature on your campus. Students on the team have the option of playing a role in the roll-out of the conservation project.

How long is each event day?

Approximately four hours each event day.

Is attendance at each day required?


Who will be there?

Post-secondary students from Canadian colleges, universities, and CEGEP campuses will be in attendance, as well as campus sustainability professionals, sustainability and engagement experts from diverse sectors and WWF-Canada staff.

Who can participate?

Post-secondary students enrolled at a Canadian post-secondary institution can apply. Students from all academic disciplines (and all degree or diploma types) are welcome. No previous experience or expertise with environmental sustainability or conservation is required.

I am graduating this school year. Am I still eligible to participate?

Yes, students graduating in the 2020-2021 school year (including students completing their final post-secondary courses December 2020, April 2021, and August 2021) are eligible to apply.

What language will the event be offered in?

While the event will be delivered in English, the resources and content required to successfully participate will also be offered in French through various formats supporting student success. Students who are primarily French-speaking are encouraged to apply to participate in this inclusive event.

What previous experience is needed?

No previous experience in design competitions or knowledge of environmental sustainability or conservation is needed. All perspectives and academic backgrounds are encouraged, valued, and welcomed.

What preparation is needed?

No preparation is needed prior to the event. Everything required to successfully participate will be provided at the event.

Will extra time outside of event days be required to complete the competition? 

With the exception of a short personal reflection exercise between event days, the time required to complete the competition is provided during each day of the event.

If our concept is selected, are we expected to implement our project idea?

There is no expectation that students will implement their concepts. Ideas generated will help shape and inform how Canadians can be mobilized to protect and restore habitat.

How can I join a team?

The application period for Designing Change 2021 has ended. The deadline to apply was 11:59 p.m. EDT Sunday May 9, 2021. Successful applicants will be placed on a team by WWF-Canada. Prior to the event, WWF-Canada will introduce successful applicants to their teammates.

Do I create my own team?

Interested students must apply as an individual. Students are not responsible for creating their own team.

I have a friend/group interesting in applying with me. Can we be on the same team?

WWF-Canada creates multi-disciplinary student teams from the pool of applicants and cannot accommodate for specific students to be placed on the same team. If you know of peers interested in participating, please encourage them to apply online.

Who is on a student team?

Teams will be comprised of post-secondary students from different academic disciplines, selected by WWF-Canada. In some cases, teams may be comprised of students from different campuses.

Will internet access be required to participate?

To participate fully, participants will require access to the internet.

Can’t find the answer to your question? Contact us at [email protected].

Key Dates

  • March 29, 2021
    Application period opens
  • May 9, 2021
    Application period closes
  • May 11, 2021
    Successful applicants notified
  • May 29, 2021
    Event Day 1
  • May 30, 2021
    Event Day 2
  • June 5, 2021
    Event Day 3

Get inspired: Past campus teams

Why participate

Build your resume with professional skills

Develop the skillsets employers are looking for: critical and analytical thinking, problem solving and strategic planning and time management. Throughout the event, students will practice thought leadership, pitching and presenting, and collaboration.

Have a voice and contribute to change

Come together with students from different academic programs and campuses to share perspectives on how environmental sustainability can be practiced and conservation action taken. Working with an interdisciplinary team, multi-faceted and creative solutions can be born.

Build your network of professional contacts

Networking is one of the most effective ways to find a job and meet the right people. Take the opportunity to get in front of industry professionals from diverse sectors at Designing Change for a Living Planet and widen your professional network.

Living Planet Leader

Designing Change for a Living Planet provides unique opportunities to develop and demonstrate leadership skills and experience teamwork. Participants can use this opportunity to complete their Living Planet Leader category for Leadership and teamwork.


Had a great time collaborating with peers interested in sustainability. We took a holistic look at an important issue and delivered recommendations to industry leaders that were well received. Thank you so much for the opportunity to collaborate for a better world!

Devon Fernandes
Community Psychology, MA, Wilfrid Laurier University, 2018

WWF's Designing Change For a Living Planet 2018 was an incredible event put on by caring and dedicated volunteers that consisted of WWF-Canada staff, academic institutions and other organizations. This event challenges individuals to not only think outside the box and disrupt the norm but to redefine societal norms as they currently exist for a better future.

Rob Monico
Office of Sustainability, Fleming College

WWF's Designing Change For a Living Planet 2018 was an incredible event put on by caring and dedicated volunteers that consisted of WWF-Canada staff, academic institutions and other organizations. This event challenges individuals to not only think outside the box and disrupt the norm but to redefine societal norms as they currently exist for a better future.

Rob Monico
Office of Sustainability, Fleming College

Designing Change for a Living Planet

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    Big Shift Ideas

Stay Connected


Living Planet @ Campus is engaging thousands of post-secondary students and educators in activities that address the dual crises of biodiversity loss and climate change. Sign up for the Living Planet @ Campus newsletter to stay up to date on upcoming opportunities to take action  with WWF-Canada on campus and in your local community.


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