By Corinne Bates
What does Students for Sustainability do?
Students for Sustainability is an organization currently headed by Joe Ferris. Their bylaws state, “The Students for Sustainability Organization aims to educate the campus and local community about sustainability issues and the concept of living sustainably. Our aims are to develop environmental, economic and social integrity among members of the St. Edward’s University community.” The group has done this by hosting clothing swaps, Campus Sustainability Day during the fall semester, an event on Earth Day during the spring semester, and they are in charge of keeping up the community garden on campus.
They also work with SGA to make St. Edward’s a more environmentally friendly campus.
What do you get out of participating in Students for Sustainability?
According to member Miguel Escoto, every meeting starts with each member sharing moments throughout the past week that they could have been more sustainable. Then they end each meeting by celebrating the ways they did act sustainably that week. This is meant to keep members aware of their actions so they can strive to be more sustainable the next week.
Escoto also mentioned that the sense of community within the organization is what drew him to it in the first place, “Students for Sustainability is a community, more than anything. It is a space were people who care about our relationship with the environment talk about environmental stewardship and ways to make the campus more sustainable. This sense of community and like-minded empathy for the Earth is what drew me to this organization.”
The group also has guest speakers come to meetings on occasion to educate the group about other community issues. They are currently in talks with CodeNEXT to get a speaker to come and discuss the first major rewrite of Austin’s land development code in thirty years.
What does Students for Sustainability contribute to the St. Edward’s community?
The purpose of the clothing swaps is to educate students on how much wearable clothing goes into landfills, and how they can help stop this. Students can swap one article of clothing for another. The purpose is to encourage students to recycle their clothing instead of throwing it away.
During the spring semester of 2016, Students for Sustainability worked with SGA to get the green fund passed. According to a Hilltop Views article written by Andrea Guzman (2016) the green fund, “would entail that students contribute monetary funds around the ballpark of $5-10 every year to be used towards more “green” efforts to be instituted on campus. Possible ideas include water fountains that include taps for water bottles or lights that turn off automatically when no motion is detected in the room.”
They also host two environmentally focused events each school year. There is Earth Week, which takes place every year on the week of Earth Day. It typically takes place on Ragsdale lawn, and the organization sets up tables and invites local vendors of sustainable businesses to come and talk to students. They also invite St. Edward’s musicians or other Austin bands to perform on the lawn during the event. The goal of this event is to try and make St. Edward’s students environmentally conscious consumers.
President Joe Ferris said they also have begun cleaning up the woods behind campus and in the process, they are teaching students how to recycle. Ferris’s main goal for this organization is to create better environmentalists on the St. Edward’s campus.
How can students get involved?
You can attend a meeting: meetings are held every Wednesday at 7 pm. You can also contact Joe Ferris at firstname.lastname@example.org.