Rye student address 20K crowd for We Day at ACC

Shreya Khanna, fourth-year student in the RTA School of Media, took centre stage Thursday at the Air Canada Centre for Toronto We Day.

Her short speech promoted the technology used in the fourth-year practicum she is working on with six other classmates – Seta Van Der Hoop, Marc Readon, Jamie Citron, Jorge Vasconez and Selina Fiorini.

“We’re all working on a studio show called Mission We, which will be all about the We Day movement,” said Khanna. Their team is going behind the scenes at We Day Toronto, Vancouver and Waterloo to collect interviews and back stage footage, which will be used to create a live studio production in December. The show will be streamed live on the website of Free The Children, the international charity that launched We Day in 2007.

The Toronto event was sponsored by Royal Bank of Canada and Telus Corp. and featured artists like Hedley, R5 and Karl Wolf. Kendrick Lamar also made a surprise appearance and performed his new single “i” for the first time in front of a live audience. Astronaut Chris Hadfield, her majesty Noor of Jordan and Spenser West all gave speeches.

While on stage, Khanna spoke about the high-tech hookup that connects the We Day stage to Ryerson, as well as colleagues at the University of Johannesburg.

On Wednesday, Van Der Hoop, one of the group members, was able to connect with a student who was over 13,000 km away in South Africa. Through a video call, they spoke about “changes and issues” that relate to their generation.

“We’re working together even though we’re so far away,” said Van Der Hoop.

The group’s goal is to show students how easy it is to initiate change. And that’s exactly what happened.

The ACC became a classroom for the thousands of students who attended. The annual We Day event is about volunteering, social activism and empowering youth.

Over 20,000 educators and students attended, but tickets weren’t for sale – they were earned. Young people got their seats by taking on one local and one global action.

We Day is tied to the year-long education initiative We Act, where student-led campaigns work to make a difference in their communities and around the globe. The five-step program focuses on problems like poverty, homelessness, lack of education and hunger. More than 7,500 schools worldwide have raised $45 million for more than 1,000 local and global causes.

Also launched at Toronto We Day is We365, a free mobile app created to connect a community of people with a passion for change. For every We365 download, Telus is donating $5 in support of We Day educational programs and activities.

We Day started with a Toronto event in 2007, but has since extended to the United States and United Kingdom.

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