Sustainability at SLU: Going Green through Activism
While searching for potential colleges to attend during my senior year of high school, I knew I wanted my future classmates to be three things: engaged in the world around them, deeply passionate about the environment, and true ‘outdoors people.’ SLU gave me a combination of all three. I knew immediately that this was the right place for me.
Upon arriving on campus for my Orientation, I noticed all the posters advertising different protests, clubs, and events in the Student Center posted to benefit sustainability efforts on campus and all over the country. I was motivated by my love for hiking, which I have continued throughout my years here at SLU, to join several clubs where I could meet like-minded students interested in the same things as me. A few weeks later, while visiting the Club and Organization Fair, I found myself drawn to the vibrant, energizing students all signing up for campus clubs. Still, amongst all the students advocating for their clubs, the free t-shirts, candy, and pens, it was the friendly faces at the table with a “Divest SLU” which struck me. I approached the table and was greeted by three smiling students.
Two years have past and now I’m an environmental studies major, a member of Divest SLU and a member of the Environmental Action Organization on campus. I am constantly surrounded by politically active and environmentally-minded students and faculty. In my environmental studies classes, which have ranged from Foundations of Environmental Thought to Wilderness Ecology, we discuss climate change, the complexity of environmental injustice, ways to mitigate climate change and why we need to keep remaining hopeful about the future of our precious planet. Environmental Studies is just one of many majors offered that involves sustainability. We also offer Conservation Biology, the Adirondack Semester, the Sustainability Program and the Outdoor Studies minor. In fact, almost all of the majors at St Lawrence offer at least one class in sustainability.
SLU has impacted me most by its environmental activism carried out by students and faculty alike. As a member of Divest SLU, we help raise awareness and promote action on larger, systemic campus environmental issues, like rethinking our investments in fossil fuels and analyzing our campus carbon footprint. We often work with other student groups, like the Earth Action Organization and the St Lawrence River Alliance, as well as professors and community members. I feel so grateful to be a part of a campus which is leading collegiate environmental engagement both in campus policies and passion.