St. Lawrence has no shortage of crazy creative, passionate and environmentally-conscious students, and any student can get involved by joining one of these student-run environmental organizations:
1. Environmental Conservation Committee
This is the environmental committee of the Thelomathesian Society (Thelmo), our governing entity of the St. Lawrence student body. Its members work to make the campus more environmentally friendly. Currently, they are working to reduce waste in the North Star Café by banning straws and introducing reusable dishes and silverware. In the last year, Thelmo has also implemented a Student Green Fund, a grant fund created with $5 drawn from each student’s tuition payments. The fund is available for students and faculty to initiate projects that will improve campus sustainability. Members also initiate cross-campus coordination of environmental initiatives through monthly meetings in which the heads of each environmental club are invited to share the projects they are actively working on.
2. EAO (Environmental Activism Organization
EAO is a student-led organization that strives to create a more environmentally-friendly campus. Being a part of this club gives students a voice in the environmental community, in the North Country and around the world. This semester, EAO is working to provide students with reuseable straws as well as getting compost bins into some of our on-campus housing.
3. Divest SLU
Established initially as a research group urging St. Lawrence to divest the school’s endowment from fossil fuel companies, this club has reinvented itself in the last few years to focus on advocating for systemic changes within the University’s management to become more environmentally conscious and implement sustainability initiatives, as well as spread awareness of environmental issues and activism opportunities to the campus community. During this last year, Divest SLU has been actively working with the Investment Committee of the St. Lawrence University’s Board of Trustees to establish a Revolving Green Fund. The fund will be a place for endowment funds specifically designated to financing sustainable infrastructure projects on campus, and savings from the project will be used to replenish the fund.
I’ve been a member of Divest SLU since my first year at St. Lawrence. I work with a group of like-minded students to bring institutional change to the St. Lawrence community. I initially joined to give back to the St. Lawrence community that had already given so much to me. Still, I feel I’ve learned so much more from working with my peers and faculty advisors.
In Divest SLU, we have a limited hierarchal organizational system, meaning each student’s voice is valued the same and everyone who attends our meetings are equally involved; we want anyone and everyone who is interested to get involved! My peers don’t seek recognition and don’t get course credit for their work. We do it because we are passionate about these issues, and I’ve seen this mentality hold true across campus. We hold our university socially accountable, and we want to leave the school better than we found it. I am humbled to be within the St. Lawrence community and inspired with each project we take on.
This is just a snapshot of my experience with environmentalism at SLU. If you want to learn more, be sure to check out the SLU Green Pages for information about other organizations, the St. Lawrence University Climate Action Plan, the Sustainability Program and much more.