Summit Highlights Green Projects

Eight different groups gathered in the Ho Atrium last Thursday for the 13th annual Green Summit, an opportunity for sustainability organizations to raise awareness of their cause, brainstorm ideas, recruit new members and present their own plans of action for the upcoming spring.

Among those present were Students for Environmental  Action, Green  Thumbs,   Green  Earth  Gang, Green Ambassadors, Composting Club, the Clean Water Coalition and the Green Raiders, as well as Director of Sustainability John Pumilio.

“This is where simple ideas transform into complex initiatives,” co-organizer of the event senior Kathryn Bacher said.

Bacher and co-organizer senior Jenna Glat encouraged collaboration among the groups present in outlining possible additions to existing initiatives. The Green Summit provided students with an opportunity to brainstorm with like-minded people in an attempt to make the world a more sustainable place, starting locally with Colgate.

“That which is not good for the beehive cannot be good for the bees,” Pumilio remarked, quoting the Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius. Pumilio saw the closest application of this statement as devising sustainable solutions to environmental problems on a local scale.

With the current rate of deforestation at one football field per second, as well as the disappearance of 77 species each day, Pumilio urged students to make a difference by tackling problems here at Colgate.

Spokespeople from each of the sustainability groups presented their action plans.  

From teaching second and third graders about the environment at Madison Central School to engaging in local food production through Colgate’s Community Garden, members of the Green Earth Gang and Green Thumbs have taken Pumilio’s advice to heart. Additionally, the Composting Club hopes to resurrect itself and make students more aware that small efforts can make a large difference. Similarly, the Clean Water Coalition mentioned participating in local cleanups through a special relationship with the Chenango Canal Association, as well as installing water fountains in residence halls.

“We are widely recognized as a leader in this field,” Pumilio said. For instance, Colgate’s participation in Recyclemania, an eight-week-long international competition scheduled to end March 29, is a testament to the breadth of the university’s involvement in sustainability initiatives.  The Students for Environmental Action proposed a plan of divestment, in which Colgate would remove investments in any companies that use fossil fuels.

“There are environmental problems that we will have to face eventually, so I wanted to get involved right away,” first-year attendee and new member of the Green Ambassadors Jeff Potts said. 

During the brainstorming session, participants were given a chance to expand upon proposals that spokespeople of each group mentioned in their opening pitches. The groups present will be recognized for their efforts sometime during the early spring, just in time for the presentation of the annual Green Awards.

Contact Jack Galvin at [email protected].