The University Network

Sustainability Week at Ithaca College

These days, sustainability has become one the most popular terms in the professional world, spanning many different industries. There has never been a more appropriate time for great minds to create new ways of taking care of our planet and help us live as green a lifestyle as possible. This mindset has spread to colleges and universities across the nation, prompting students everywhere to step up and do their part to contribute to a more sustainable world.

From creating new degree programs built around the sustainability movement to holding in-class competitions to inspire students to think in new, innovative ways, educational institutions across the country are coming up with new and exciting ways to stay green.

One college, in particular, is demonstrating its commitment to sustainable living in a big way.

While some universities are preparing for weeks dedicated to school spirit and Greek life, New York’s Ithaca College is gearing up for Sustainability Week, which starts on April 17 and ends on April 22. The private research university will host many different speakers, panels and other events dedicated to educating students on matters related to sustainability.

The week will begin with a speech by keynote speaker Marion Nestle, who serves as Paulette Goddard Professor of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health at New York University and has published multiple books on the subject of food politics. A glance at a summary of featured events for the week reported by The Ithacan (reproduced below) confirms the college’s mission of promoting knowledge of sustainable practices and the need for sustainability. Topics include climate change and clean technology. The week ends with a concert on campus grounds.

Source: The Ithacan

According to The Ithacan, the week of events was spearheaded by Ithaca seniors Sarah Farella, Natalie Grande and Daniel Ruthman. The 3 students met last year while taking a course Leadership and Collaboration, which was taught by Christine Bataille, assistant professor of business management. Professor Bataille had been impressed by the potential she saw in the 3 students, so she wasn’t surprised when she saw them create a plan to turn a class project into an event. She now believes that the week of events will become an established tradition in the years to come. The students’ plan involved reaching out to multiple environmental campus groups, such as  IC Animal Rights, IC Progressives, IC Enactus, IC Futures and Eco-Reps. The students received additional support from multiple professors from the college’s business program and Business School Dean Sean Reid.

The students organizing the week’s events have welcomed the participation of other students. For example, student group Eco-Reps will be focusing on recycling during Sustainability Week as they have prior experience with recycling efforts. Eco-Reps had spearheaded a Recyclemania event that lasted from January through the beginning of April this year.

It is not surprising that student groups with a strong commitment to sustainability matters would be excited about the development and execution of an event such as the upcoming Sustainability Week. Ithaca students seem to be responding quite well to the prospect of a Sustainability Week, and will likely do their part to contribute.

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TUN spoke with Keigan Case, a student at the university, to find out his reaction.  

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I know Ithaca is known for being all green and stuff but it looks like this sustainability week is going to try to target everyone because the truth is this campus is not all hippies,” said Case. “I see a lot of people who don’t seem to care about the effects they have on the environment. I hope this week will be successful in changing the people who need to be making positive changes in their behaviors.

Samuel O'Brient grew up in western Massachusetts, though most of his days are spent at Sarah Lawrence College in Westchester, New York. His time there is spent studying business communications and serving as editor in chief of the SLC Economic Review. As a writer, journalist, and blogger, he has written for many different online venues on a variety of topics. When he's not working on his blog, Samuel can often be found sailing, on the golf course, or on the tennis court.