Green, sustainable clubs on campus provide opportunities for both SU and ESF students

/ The Daily Orange

21st-Century Tree Hugger

Syracuse University is an institution known for a great deal of things: renowned academia, Big East sports and myriads of clubs and activities. There is so much to do on campus that it’s impossible to join every class, club or collective gathering that catches your eye.

A great feature for students at the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry is that we can be involved with a plethora of SU activities, but it works both ways. SU students also have the same opportunities on ESF’s campus. But if the environment and sustainability strike your fancy, you don’t need to wander down to ESF (though you can check us out — we’re just on the other side of the Carrier Dome!). There are a number of groups you can join at SU, some newer than others.

First on my list of clubs is Together We Initiate Sustainability Today. TWIST is a club in its early stages, but is advised by the SU Sustainability Division. Last semester it helped install the water bottle filling station in Hinds Hall — a practical solution to dissuade disposable plastic water bottles. Meeting times are to be determined, but check out the group’s Facebook page. With a club like this, you can make real changes to where we work and play, while opening the eyes of the rest of campus to environmental issues.

If you’re interested in green design, construction and building, SU has an established United States Green Building Council group. Meeting on Mondays at 8 p.m. in Link Hall, the group describes itself as a “unique opportunity for students to have access to LEED education and USGBC sanctioned events,” according to the group’s Facebook page. This brings SU students to eco-friendly industries in the real world, not just on campus.

Another facet of sustainability initiatives is policy and politics. If you’re interested in both of those things, you can join the Green Party group on our campus. College Greens at SU is a club that brings together like-minded, politically and sustainably charged students to discuss and participate in the political process. This is another group that has a yet-to-be-determined meeting time, but keep your eyes peeled and check out the College Greens at SU Facebook page.

Apart from these three clubs that I recommend, there are also movements on campus — not quite strong accredited organizations, but groups of passionate people with a mission. One such movement aims to create a food cooperative to bring local, sustainable food to the SU and ESF communities. Although challenging, Green Beans Food Cooperative has a noble initiative to bring real food back to our campuses.

My final recommendation is not to forget the Stumpies across the street. If you take interest in anything surrounding the environment, sustainability or the outdoors, ESF has a variety of clubs that fit all different genres. SU students are more than welcome — the more is truly the merrier when you meet people with common interests. If I could cue a recording of “Why Can’t We Be Friends?” right now, I would, but I guess that’s a story for another time.

The most important thing is that when we come together because of common interests, we can get our voices to be heard, make actions toward a better tomorrow and find people who care. Let’s make a difference here and now, starting with our clubs.

Meg Callaghan is a junior environmental studies major and writing minor at the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry. Her column appears weekly. She can be reached at mlcallag@syr.edu.


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