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Arts student Active8 ambassador

By Janet Harron | Feb. 22, 2013

Faculty of Arts student Donovan Taplin is not your average first-year student.

Not only was he a recipient of the TD Canada Trust Scholarship for Community leadership, one of Canada’s most prestigious national scholarships for high school students, in 2012 he travelled to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, for the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development as a member of the Students on Ice alumni delegation. As a high school student, he experienced both of Earth's poles as a member of the Students on Ice Arctic and Antarctic youth expeditions. He has alsointerviewed CBC News' chief correspondent Peter Mansbridge for Bell Island's community radio station, which Mr. Taplin was instrumental in helping to establish.

Now Mr. Taplin is taking his talent for public speaking to new heights as one of Newfoundland and Labrador’s ambassadors for the Atlantic Council for International Co-operation’s Active8 campaign. The campaign is inspired by the idea that small changes by individual Canadians can lead to big change for people everywhere and includes two ambassadors from each of the four Atlantic provinces.

The campaign website at encourages visitors to support one of the ambassadors and commit to an action for change.

On his Active8 page, Mr. Taplin discusses how his travel to the polar regions has resulted in his motivation to educate others on the importance of sustainable development.

“The goal is to get us [the ambassadors] to inspire people through our online profiles and through events we are hosting in the community,” explained Mr. Taplin, who will be speaking as part of an event on Saturday, Feb. 23, at St. Michael’s Parish Hall on Bell Island from 2-4 p.m. The title of his speech is Lessons from a Young Global Citizen. Admission is by donation at the door and all proceeds will go to a local breast cancer support group.

Next week Mr. Taplin will bring his message of thinking globally and acting locally to students at Bishops High School in St. John's. Members of the Memorial University community can meet Mr. Taplin and his fellow Active8 Ambassador Sabrina Andrews at an event on Wednesday, Feb. 27, from 12-1:30 p.m. in ED 5004-05. Those interested in attending the luncheon can RSVP to There is no charge for this event but registration is required.

Dr. Willow Anderson, a per course instructor in communication studies, suggested Mr. Taplin apply to be an Active8 ambassador.

“As an educator who believes in formal as well as informal ways of learning, I try to bring interesting opportunities to my students’ attention," said Dr. Anderson. "Back in November I learned about Active8 and after posting it on Desire2Learn, I mentioned it to Donovan. I knew he had been very active within his community and I thought he’d made an excellent ambassador for Memorial and the province.”

Those interested in supporting Mr. Taplin as an Active8 ambassador can visit