Who are the “Student Sustainability Educators” and What Does Sustainability Have to Do With Anything?
Charlotte Prud’Homme | 10/21/15 11:02pm
| Updated 10/21/15 11:11pm
Editor’s Note: This article was written by Charlotte Prud’homme, a Student Sustainability Educator.
Ever wonder about AU’s sustainability achievements and goals for the future? October is college sustainability month. Here’s what we’ve got to share with you in terms of sustainability at AU.
Headed by new Director Megan Litke, American University’s Office of Sustainability has taken on new commitments for 2016. A graduate of Tulane University and Harvard’s Master of Liberal Arts, Sustainability and Environmental Management program, Litke has accepted the position at AU, taking over for long-time director Chris O’Brien and looks forward to continuing the great work in sustainability at American University. She hopes to increase student and faculty engagement by developing the mentorship program, an organization dedicated to increasing student engagement in sustainability initiatives on campus. Litke guides student learning in change management, renewable energy, waste and recycling, sustainability, education, and community engagement. She’s also an an active leader in helping AU be carbon neutral by 2020.
So far, the Student Sustainability Educators, who used to be known as the Green Eagles, have been familiarizing themselves with the work of the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education and using its workshops and tools to help meet campus goals regarding sustainability. Another mission is working to change the culture and attitudes of students regarding sustainability projects; for instance, throwing aluminum, paper, compost, and trash into separate bins.
The Student Sustainability Educators are a team of six women working for the AU Office of Sustainability, with more to come when the staff expands at the end of November. “I’m very excited to be working with this amazing group of students and I look forward to seeing what they accomplish as they engage their fellows students in sustainability-related efforts,” said Litke.
Students have started training to give sustainability tours around campus and have already given tours to numerous groups and individuals.
The Student Sustainability Educator squad is hoping to spread the word about sustainability and inspire their peers by partnering with AU’s She’s the First on Sunday, October 25 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. celebrate the International Day of the Girl. There, the group will talk about how sustainability, health, education, and human freedoms are all obstructed by energy poverty and interrelated with a woman’s life in the developing world. Lookout for their table and pamphlet materials in upcoming weeks.
The team is also working on a collaborative blog, telling tales ranging from kale-growing on campus, ready for munching on the way to class, to their peers and professors on campus and their careers in sustainability. Look out for interviews with students Bella Merrit and Anna Bonomo, who are on the Eco-Sense and Fossil Free student organization boards. Also keep an eye out for an interview with professor Eve Bratman, whose major projects focus on the links between environmental policy, infrastructure, agriculture, and human rights in the Brazilian Amazon, as well as professor Simon Nicholson, whose work focuses on global environmental governance, global food politics, and the politics of emerging technologies including climate engineering technologies.
The biggest goal of the Student Sustainability Educators is to communicate with their peers. You can help them with this by finding the organization online and staying tuned to all the upcoming events, as well as by sharing events and information with friends and family.
Sustainability is important because without it, we are limited in our observation of how natural systems function, remain diverse, and produce everything they need for the ecosystem to be in balance. It takes into account strategies to live in harmony with the planet while changing our own habits in order to prevent its destruction. Sustainability is not just about the environment, it is also about global public health and, really, how we choose to live our lives for ourselves and our future.
Be sure to look for us:
Campus: Jenna Wiegand, Noa Banayan, Alison Taylor, Lina Alam, Amelia Crabtree, Charlotte Prud’Homme.