Survive + Thrive

Earth Emerson brings green living to Emerson College community

Who needs books to learn how to go green? Not Earth Emerson. The group brings green living to the Emerson community with eco-friendly activities, events and meetings.

Suffolk University Composting.jpgBoston-area schools educate students on the power of green

Emerson College isn't the only local institution promoting eco-friendly behaviors on-campus.

The Princeton Review ranked Suffolk University, Emerson's neighbor in the Boston Common, as one of the top green schools in the country earlier this year. In addition, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection named the school as the 2009 WasteWise "Partner of the Year" for its recycling and waste-prevention initiatives.

Erica Mattison, Suffolk University's campus sustainability coordinator, said helping the school go green hasn't been easy. "For one full-time staff member, there's not enough time in the day," Mattison said. "It's a challenge figuring out how to change things like campus policy and culture."

Mattison said the school promotes student and community involvement in waste reduction, recycling and energy conservation. According to Mattison, the university has a 90-member sustainability committee and green teams within several departments that teach eco-friendly habits to faculty and staff.

University of Massachusetts Amherst's University Without Walls (UWW) provides adult students a chance to earn college credit based on prior coursework and experience in sustainability studies. The online program concentrates on providing students with the necessary knowledge to help them succeed in a green economy.

Gary Bernhard, program manager of UWW's sustainability studies program, said the curriculum has been revamped since it was launched last year. "One of our goals was to make the program accessible by putting it online," added Bernhard. "Our hope was to attract people who wanted to do green business or who wanted to green their existing business."

Bernhard said the majority of students entering the program have been in their mid-to-upper 20s. "The program has been attracting slightly younger people because money has been available for job re-training, but the jobs aren't available yet," Bernhard said. "Younger people are more likely to take the risk and get a degree in something they see as the future."

Tufts University has promoted ecological sustainability on campus with its eco-reps program. Tufts eco-reps, a group of residential students, raise awareness of ecological issues through activities, events and projects on campus.

Jason Merges, a content management intern in the university's office of sustainability, said Tufts is constantly searching for ways to engage students and faculty in eco-friendly activities. "We're always open to new ideas," Merges said. "Tufts has always been a pretty open place for change when it comes to sustainability habits." He added the school has been trying to work with other colleges and universities to develop a standardized sustainability rating system.

Boston College offers students at the Carroll School of Management an opportunity to learn eco-friendly behaviors in the business world. The school has its own chapter of Net Impact, an international nonprofit organization that seeks to build a more socially and environmentally friendly world. "Over the past two years, the students have grown more and more energized and tackled new and exciting projects," said Kimberly Stellavato, president of the school's Net Impact chapter. "My hope is that five years from now, every MBA student will be involved, in some form or another, in the Net Impact chapter."

Stellavato said the group has brought speakers on campus to promote sustainability and good environmental practice. She said students often join the chapter because it provides the perfect supplement to the traditional MBA curriculum. "The Net Impact chapter at Boston College is a growing and energized group of students who are committed to sustainable and responsible business," Stellavato said. "In the future, I see the Net Impact chapter at Boston College growing in numbers and in strength."

Suffolk University student photo courtesy of Erica Mattison

By Daniel Kobialka
Earth Emerson Logo.jpg

Even "Captain Planet" has played a role in the success of Earth Emerson, the college's student-run environmental action organization.

The group hosted a Saturday morning cartoon night featuring "Captain Planet," Dr. Seuss's "The Lorax" and cereal. "That was fun," said Jillian Tedeschi, co-president of Earth Emerson. "It was a popular event."

Earth Emerson was created in 1996 in an attempt to increase recycling efforts on campus. Since that time, the group has hosted speakers, participated in Boston Common cleanups and put on vegetarian food festivals twice a year. Molly LaFlesh, co-president of Earth Emerson, said there are roughly 15 active members in the organization.

Earth Emerson Group Picture.jpg

The group hosts weekly meetings at the Max Mutchnick Campus Center at 150 Boylston St. to discuss environmental issues on campus. Tedeschi and LaFlesh, Emerson College seniors, have been involved with the organization since their freshman year, and have hosted activities including a tray awareness campaign, a tie-dying demonstration and even a "Pimp Your Cookie" event that allowed participants to decorate vegan cookies.

The group has held movie nights that promote ecological awareness as well. Past film screenings include "King Corn," "Tapped" and "Blue Gold: World Water Wars."

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Emerson senior Andrew Nigrosh, a communications major, does not participate in Earth Emerson meetings, but said he attended the viewing of "Blue Gold: World Water Wars" because of his interest in documentaries. "Water isn't really a commodity you appreciate until it's not readily available," Nigrosh said.

But the formation of a committee on sustainability could lead to an increase in green activities on campus. "Emerson for a long time has claimed to be green, and has done quite a bit to prove it," Tedeschi said. "But there's definitely that next level that, even at Suffolk [University], they're doing that we can do."

LaFlesh said Earth Emerson has co-hosted movie nights with Suffolk University in the past. In addition, the group works with residential students on campus, including the Green Living floor, located on the third level of 150 Boylston St.

Members of Earth Emerson and residents on the Green Living floor held a Green Thanksgiving at the student center three days before Thanksgiving. "We've been doing a lot of planning and brainstorming for the event," said Justin Eastzer, a residential student on the Green Living floor, "but we weren't expecting to see this many people. It's exciting." Ten Boston-area restaurants provided food for the Green Thanksgiving, and at least 50 students attended the feast.

Green Thanksgiving.jpg

The event featured vegan and vegetarian food, including a tofurkey, a turkey made of tofu. Rob Onorato, a freshman theatre studies major, said he has always been interested in environmental issues, but attended the Green Thanksgiving to feast on tofurkey. "I've always been interested in agriculture and farming," Onorato said. "But as a student, it's tough finding the time to go to [Earth Emerson] meetings."

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But tofurkey wasn't the only thing on the menu at the Green Thanksgiving; students heard speakers from the Boston Vegetarian Society and The Humane League discuss a vegetarian lifestyle. David Coman-Hidy, Boston director of The Humane League, said the shift to a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle has become like the gay rights movement. "It's so easy to become a part of this movement," Coman-Hidy said. "This is being generally accepted, so there is hope out there."

Much like the message of "Captain Planet," Coman-Hidy told students the power is theirs, and they can make a difference by becoming a vegan or vegetarian. "Going vegan or vegetarian is such a huge impact," Coman-Hidy said. "The best part about it is that when you decide to become a vegetarian, you immediately become an ambassador on that issue."

Want to learn more about how Emerson College and Suffolk University try to take pollution down to zero? Check out the video below.

Earth Emerson group photo courtesy of Earth Emerson


Hello ! I'm new on this forum, hope to talk to you soon :)
I love carsn seotons and tuning, and you ?

Your asnewr lifts the intelligence of the debate.

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