Arriving by bike, on foot, Metra, CTA and one car, eight environmentally-inclined students and faculty members from Saint Xavier University (SXU) attended the GreenTown Chicago conference at the University of Illinois, Chicago on Wednesday, May 21, 2014.
Part of the conference focused on universities under the umbrella of “Campus as Community Change Agent: Higher Education’s Role in Advancing Sustainability in the Chicagoland Region.” SXU students and faculty attended such sessions as: “Making Connection: Collaboration and Learning from the Higher Education Retrofit Project,” “Transformative Sustainability: the University as a Living Laboratory for Connecting Students to the Community,” “Sustainable Landscaping Initiatives,” “Campus Gardens and Markets” and many others.
“We are educating a diverse community of ethical, motivated, and socially conscious students who will be prepared for 21st Century careers that promote environmental sustainability and leadership, said Kathleen Alaimo, dean of the College of School of Arts and Sciences. “Conferences like these are educational opportunities we seek out on a regular basis in an effort to truly support our students educational journey.”
SXU students Mike Egan, Evan Held, Rachel Schroeder and Neveen Hammad attended the conference. All of these students are members of a larger student community that hopes to attract interest and involvement from incoming SXU students in the interdisciplinary Environmental and Sustainability Studies Program. They are associated with the student club, The Environmental Concerns Organization, which hopes to build student interest in participatory processes for a greener SXU campus and community for years to come. The conference allowed SXU students to gather many ideas, not just about going green, but about the processes involved in making changes on a college campus from a student perspective. They are all excited to share their new knowledge in the 2014-2015 school year.
Biology professor Joseph Dertien, Environmental and Sustainability Studies adjunct instructor Jeffery Tangel, and Philosophy professors Molly Sturdevant and Forrest Perry accompanied the students. They concur that the conference offered rich opportunities for thinking about the relationship between course-work, the community, and research in environmental studies, from several different disciplinary perspectives.
Funding for student-faculty participation in the GreenTown Chicago conference was provide by the Office of the Dean, College of Arts and Sciences.