The power of the student voice is considerable on The College of Idaho campus. Weighing in on issues ranging from housing to curricular needs to meal plans, students at the College are empowered and encouraged to participate in making the campus a better place. Last week, a group of students used that voice to bring a conversation about sustainability and social responsibility to Simplot Dining Hall and encourage more eco-friendly and responsible choices by the campus community.
The College’s Sustainability Stewards applied to be a stop along the College Road Tour and on March 28th hosted the first part of a two-day event on campus facilitated by Turning Green, a global, student-led movement to promote sustainable living. The aim of the event was making conservation and sustainability more tangible to students on campus. This year marks the 8th annual Conscious College Road Tour put on by Turning Green and the first year that The College of Idaho participated as a stop on the journey.
“We wanted students to get more involved in how to improve sustainability on campus by hosting a Town Hall on the 28th to talk about their concerns on how the College manages our community’s food waste,” explained Jazmin Scolari, one of the Sustainability Stewards.
The town hall took place last Thursday in the Simplot South dining room and focused specifically on the realistic choices students can make toward the goal of a more sustainable culture on campus. Students discussed potential projects to promote and educate the community about sustainable practice. Also in attendance was Environmental Studies professor Dr. Megan Dixon who gave a talk on the importance of resource management. As the Boise area continues to develop and grow, Dixon encourages students to look at how sustainability can be applied to the community in and outside of the YoteFam.
Discussions were facilitated by Erin Schrode, co-founder of the Turning Green organization, and she invited students to think about the hurdles keeping them from making more environmentally conscious choices and changes. “These students are unreal,” Erin wrote on her Instagram post about the event. She describes the students in attendance as “a collaboration of uniquely-brilliant, deeply-committed, eco-minded, diverse global citizens who are well-versed in and care passionately about sustainability.”
The day after the town hall, the Stewards and many student volunteers held an expo in Simplot South to display and give away products that students could consider as more sustainable alternatives to products they use every day. These included snacks, beauty products, personal hygiene items, and of course, the iconic reusable steel straws. Along with the displays and giveaways, volunteers at the expo encouraged visitors to talk about these issues and the choices individuals can make to create change.
Scolari and her co-Stewards were thrilled by the amount of participation and the positive response they received by the end of the event. “The best way to fight against climate change is to become aware of our own impact in this world,” Scolari explains. “The change starts with us!”
The College of Idaho has a 128-year-old legacy of excellence. The C of I is known for its outstanding academic programs, winning athletics tradition and history of producing successful graduates, including seven Rhodes Scholars, three governors, and countless business leaders and innovators. Its distinctive PEAK Curriculum challenges students to attain competency in the four knowledge peaks of humanities, natural sciences, social sciences and a professional field—empowering them to earn a major and three minors in four years. The College’s close-knit, residential campus is located in Caldwell, where its proximity both to Boise and to the world-class outdoor activities of southwest Idaho’s mountains and rivers offers unique opportunities for learning beyond the classroom. For more information, visit www.collegeofidaho.edu.
Story submitted by Hannah DalSoglio, C of I Marketing and Communications Intern