Students for Sustainable Earth aim to improve campus’ sustainability
By Nora Strehl
Getting “green” and staying “green” is a challenge that most of the world is facing.
The question on everyone’s mind is: what can be done to make everyday activities more environmentally friendly?
Students for Sustainable Earth (SSE) are one organization that knows exactly how to do that. SSE works to spread the word about attitudes and practices that WMU, and Kalamazoo itself, can do to make the community more environmentally sustainable.
Every Tuesday at 7 p.m., SSE meets in room 205 of the Bernhard Center, to plan events pertaining to the sustainability of earth.
Every other Tuesday they host “All Green Living” workshops. These workshops are based around living environmentally friendly and what you can do to keep the planet green.
Along with the workshops, they also host dances, concerts, discussions panels and other fun events that promote sustainable awareness.
Students for Sustainable Earth support the idea that society and everything around it is in a severe environmental crisis, a situation that stresses the need for attention.
According to their Web site, “We work to promote ecologically sustainable practices on our campus, a cleaner environment in our community, civic engagement and positive change!”
According to the College of Sustainability, Western Michigan University has received a C-minus on its 2009 “sustainable report card.” From a “D” in Environmental Change and Energy to a “C” in Green Building, it’s made very clear that WMU needs the positive influence that this organization is creating.
The College of Sustainability explains the report card as, “[a way to] identify colleges and universities that are leading by example on sustainability.
The aim is to provide accessible information for schools to learn from each other’s experiences and establish more effective sustainability policies.”
Joe Orchanion, co-chair of Students for Sustainable Earth, feels passionate about what SSE stands for.
“We all feel that sustainability and environmental quality is important, but nothing is ever going to get done unless everyone is on board,” Orchanion said. “We take that kind of philosophy and put it toward individual action, instead of waiting around for something to happen. Making small changes, making the world a better place, with direct-individual action.”
Orchanion sees SSE as a way of taking action on issues.
“It manifests itself in a variety of different ways,” he said. “The main goal is getting people fired up and involved on environmental issues and informing them on how they can make a difference.”
If this isn’t enough to make you want to jump on the sustainability bus, then check out one of the many events they are hosting, this week and next week.
This weekend SSE will be hosting two events. On Friday, Feb. 20, from 7 to 11 p.m., they will be putting together a concert with their closest allies, The Kalamazoo Peace Center.
The Peace Center, as well as SSE works toward a variety of different social justice causes. They educate individuals on issues of justice and peace, and at the same time make positive changes in the community.
The concert is being held at the Wesley Foundation and will include several local Punk and Ska bands such as: Monkey Jacket, Taft, All Hell, and Forty Lashes.
The following event is Feb. 21 from 8 to 11 p.m. at the Meristem Co-Op. Kalamazoo collective housing is putting on “Folk in the Foyer” which is a concert for local folk bands.
“We’ll be hanging out in the foyer, with pillows and blankets, just relaxing, listening to music,” Orchanion said.
Meristem Co-Op is located at 113 Dutton St. and there is a suggested $2 donation that goes to the Co-Op housing.
Another important event that Students for Sustainable Earth is organizing is an ecological political discussion panel.
Feb. 25, representatives from three student political parties, Democrats, Republicans and Socialists will be discussing what they see as different solutions for environmental problems. The event takes place from 6 to 8 p.m. in Sangren Hall, room 2304.
There are several other scheduled SSE events taking place up until the end of April.
Students for Sustainable Earth is constantly taking new members, and encouraging students to take direct action that will help make a difference, one step at a time.
After this article was web published, we got a response:
My name is Eric Adler and I used to be the president of SSE back in “the day” (90’s). It warms my heart to see the organization still active, getting press, and spreading knowledge. I am most impressed by the continuation of an ideal that is at the core of any change…individual change. We must walk each step our selves before we ask others to follow in the footprints. Joe’s statement of “direct individual change” reminds me of Ghandi’s statement, “We must be the change we wish to see in the world”.
I hope you find continued success in spreading and living your ideals both within your group, your families, the school, and the community. Maybe I’ll get a chance to come to a meeting one of these days.
If you haven’t had the honor of meeting Roger Ulrich, I would recommend you try to get him as a guest speaker. He was my great teacher in life and has understanding of our relationship with the earth few do. I’m not sure if he is still at Lake Village, I would imagine he is. If so, make a point to meet him. Go with a very open mind, and you will not be disappointed.
Pretty cool stuff.