November 21, 2019

Advocating Sustainably for a Sustainable Future

Joshua Sheridan

Climate change and sustainability issues have recently been top priorities for the community of Gordon College. The on-campus sustainability group, Advocates for a Sustainable Future (ASF), has organized many events, including an environmental prayer walk, a climate strike, and an environmental documentary screening. For this reason, senior, and ASF executive director, Elysia Moy, sat down with The Tartan to speak about who the group is, what they hope to accomplish this academic year, and how students can get involved.

Moy began by explaining that “ASF is an Executive Council under GCSA… function[ing] as a group of students to voice opinions and ideas… on how to actually bring sustainability on campus.” As such, ASF is not a governing organization, although all initiatives sponsored by the group do go directly to GCSA for review and approval. Expanding on the goals of ASF this academic year, Moy discussed the need for them “to be more long-lasting…” as they have “done different… food waste things and have gone to see movies about plastic waste [which] is… impactful… but it’s not something that gets passed down to the next year of ASF.” This year specifically the group is advocating for campus to be “[powered by] 100 percent renewable energy or at least [become] carbon neutral by 2025.” 

Although the group does have a variety of talented members, Moy said that the work which ASF achieves is truly made possible by the guidance of Dr. Dorothy Boorse, and director of Physical Plant, Mark Stowell. With their support, ASF has had electric vehicle charging stations installed on campus and has been able to advocate for the installment of solar panels thanks to funds provided by a generous donor. Moy hopes that the advisory staff can continue to grow, as one day she would like to see the college hire “[a] full-time sustainability director.” This person would facilitate the development of sustainability initiatives on campus no matter the presence of ASF.

Though the work which ASF does is encouraging on its own, it is important for students to know that they too can get involved in making sustainable changes on campus. Moy noted a variety of ways for students to get engaged with ASF, the first of these being to attend ASF’s weekly meetings from 7:30-8:30 p.m. on Mondays in KOSC 128. 

Additionally, there are a couple events to be on the lookout for this fall. In November “Amelia Bowser [the assistant director of ASF]… will [be keeping] track of all the waste that is produced from… leftovers [on Darkside] and will be weighing them.” At some point this fall, ASF will be partnering with “CEC and the Beekeeping Club to hold a Harvest Festival.” Finally, ASF will be taking a trip to “the New England Aquarium in December.” These are just a few of the initiatives and events which ASF has planned for the academic year, but there are sure to be plenty more coming. 

Although not everything which ASF does may appeal to all students, it is a great opportunity for anyone to make a difference in the world while still in college. Nevertheless, attending meetings and events can be challenging, and so Moy encourages students to share their ideas because “if someone has an idea like ‘oh I want to see [Gordon] get reusable straws’… [ASF will] work on that.” So consider joining ASF and making Gordon green. Surely it will be a better place afterwards, but also those who help in the process may rest easy just for knowing that they have done a small part to help reduce the impacts of a much larger issue. 

To contact ASF about getting involved, please email: asf@gordon.edu

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