CofC Sustainability Boot Camp

Along with the creation of the Office of Sustainability, another new member of the CofC community is the student organization Green CofC.  This is an organization born out of work done through a group project in Dr. Fisher’s Climate Change Capstone, in partnership with graduate and undergraduate students working independently with Dr. Fisher on sustainability issues.

This fall will be the organization’s first semester as a recognized student organization.  As a new organization at the beginning of the academic year, it has attracted a number of members, a disproportionately high number of which are enthusiastic freshmen.  The passion and dedication already displayed has been impressive, though as new students, many of the members had voiced concerns about a lack of formal knowledge in sustainability.  This translated in a lack of confidence in their own abilities.  In order to encourage greater active participation in the club, the officers decided that a crash course in the fundamentals of sustainability was in order, and so Sustainability Bootcamp was born.

On Wednesday, September 28th, well over 30 Green CofC members and interested students assembled in the Stern Center for what became a two hour, multimedia presentation and discussion on the basics of sustainability and its implications given by Office of Sustainability Graduate Assistant Jen Jones, Research Assistant Adam Brunelle and Intern Adrian Barry.

The presentation opened with a “Meet the Director” introduction from Dr. Fisher, who outlined his personal history and motivations, while encouraging students to take an active role in the issues by making the most of the opportunities available to to them and developing passion and leadership.

The formal portion of the presentation addressed problems such as environmental degradation, climate change and social justice as well as drivers of these issues, such as population growth, waste, consumption and values.  Imparting a broader, more comprehensive view of sustainability, one in which environmental sustainability is just one piece of a much larger, interconnected issue, was the overall goal.  To do this, sources as wide as eminent scientists, such as Wallace Broecker, were coupled with philosophers such as Peter Singer or activists like Denis Hayes.

The depth of the post presentation discussion, and subsequent interest voiced by those in attendance, suggests that a second Bootcamp is called for.  As of now, the plan is to view the first Bootcamp as a formal survey of the basics, while part two will be a more discussion based, seminar style format in which the issues broached in part one will be delved into with considerably more depth.

As we plan out the second Bootcamp we will be publicizing a date and would welcome input from the student body on what issues most interest or concern them.  We hope that we will see you there!

–Adrian Barry
Office of Sustainability Intern

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