Following three successful seasons of the Guam Green Growth (G3) Conservation Corps, the University of Guam Center for Island Sustainability and Sea Grant launched the new regional-focused G3 Local2030 Islands Network Conservation Corps at the UOG Residence Halls on Friday, September 1.
The G3 Local2030 Islands Network Conservation Corps is strategically tailored to empower university dorm residents from the broader Micronesia region with the skills and knowledge for the emerging green economy, while addressing pressing environmental concerns.
The ten new G3 Local 2030 Conservation Corps are Sirena Braiel (Chuuk), Don David (Pohnpei), Joshlynn Eberdong (Palau), Josh Fanapngag (Yap), Jesley Ferdinand (Pohnpei), Toyolynn Hilton (Marshall Islands), Jon Arthur Kihleng (Pohnpei), Mc Gee Mereb (Palau), Jonathan Mitsur (Yap), and Aira May Ngalongalo (Saipan). As part of the first cohort, they will receive a $1300 stipend per semester and 120 continuing education units (CEUs) for their participation in the program.
For UOG President Anita Borja Enriquez, DBA, this pioneering initiative represents the next phase of the G3 Conservation Corps. She emphasizes, “As we launch this new program, we’re not just empowering dorm residents – we’re nurturing a network of change-makers who will drive sustainable solutions for our evolving world.”
During the launch event, Sharleen Santos Bamba, UOG Senior Vice President and Provost, highlighted the importance of efforts like these in raising awareness, consciousness, and fostering a change in mindset.
According to UOG Center for Island Sustainability and Sea Grant Director Austin Shelton, the G3 Local2030 Islands Network Conservation Corps plays a vital role in advancing the larger movement toward achieving the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals on Guam and in the region.
He states, “This initiative builds on our past success, reaffirming our commitment to prepare our region for a future that harmonizes human well-being, economic growth, and environmental health.” Shelton also noted that the program serves as a crucial bridge between education and action.
Lt. Governor Josh Tenorio, co-chair of the G3 steering committee, declared, “It is here, at UOG, where we lay the foundation for the Micronesian community. It is here that we encounter the future leaders of Micronesia.”
The first ten G3 Local2030 Islands Network Conservation Corps members represent a diverse group of students from Micronesia.
On the reason for joining the new corps, Aira Ngalongalo, a BS Business Administration student and dorm resident assistant, said, “I am excited to work with my new team. I want change for the CNMI. In the CNMI, we have landfills that cause contamination to the land.”
Jesley Ferdinand, a BS Civil Engineering student from Pohnpei said, “I want to bring the knowledge back to the island and help sustain it. And since this is my home away from home, I also want to help the island.”
Parallel to the G3 program’s achievements, participants of the G3 Local2030 Islands Network Conservation Corps are poised to embark on an immersive path of instruction and practical training across a spectrum of sustainability themes.
These focus areas include agriculture, aquaculture, island beautification, invasive species mitigation, reforestation, circular economy practices, ocean conservation, and harnessing renewable energy. In addition, the inaugural cohort will also participate in activities that support civic engagement and leadership.