Interested in sustainable living or local environmental solutions? Need tips on making your house or dorm room a little “greener”? Looking for friends who recycle their bottles after they party?
The Associated Students Environmental Center (EC) will host their first monthly Environmental Club Summit of the year at 5 p.m. Thursday in Viking Union 464. With plenty of environmental clubs, local organizations, and green-minded individuals in attendance the meeting will hopefully generate a lot of environmentally-friendly ideas and collaborations for the incoming school year. The newly revamped summits also factor importantly into the mission of the AS Environmental Center.
According to Casey Clark, Environmental Center co-coordinator, the center operates in three main capacities: first, the EC serves as a resource for students by maintaining helpful links to professors and an in-office media library, home to a sizable collection of books, magazines, and films; second, as a programming body, the EC plans and promotes large-scale, environmentally-focused events such as Earth Day, film showings, campus lectures by green speakers and other large collaborations with different campus offices and local organizations, he explained.
The summits will fulfill the oft-overlooked third purpose of the office, namely to serve as, “a central hub for networking clubs, off-campus organizations and individual students who are interested in getting involved,” Clark said.
Whereas in the past such meetings have occurred only once a quarter and acted as formal community check-ins with little creative exchange, Clark said that this year the EC wants to shake up the meetings and energize the participants.
One of the first steps is in the scheduling of such events. In contrast to previous quarters, this year the EC will host an Environmental Club Summit on the first Thursday of every month, with the first dates confirmed for Oct. 4, Nov. 1, and Dec. 6.
By providing some activities, a bit of food, and a few guiding questions, Clark said he hopes to see the sparks of collaboration fly.
“We'll have the clubs introduce themselves to students,” he said. “We want to get everyone talking about what they're excited about and realizing how they have one main goal in common which is the environment.”
Participants in the kick-off Environmental Club Summit can expect face-time with local green-minded movers and shakers, such as Students for Sustainable Food, the Surfrider Foundation, the AS Recycling Center, the campus Office of Sustainability, Conservation Northwest, and the Re-Store.
In the end, the EC hopes to see a stronger, more unified group effort in the inception and execution of environmental events on campus, according to Clark. He noted that often one of the largest problems facing environmentally conscious groups is people-power.
“A lot of environmental clubs are strapped for volunteers and resources,” he explained.
Lack of communication can also be a tricky issue. By working with the participants of the Environmental Club Summits this year, the EC plans to establish an on-going events calendar specifically geared toward environmental clubs, explained Clark. While the calendar will remain displayed in their office throughout the year, he also said he expects the EC to distribute it through their e-mail and other online resources.