Green ‘Gate: Students at Annual Green Summit Focus on a Variety of Sustainability Efforts

Nine issues of sustainability in the Colgate community were addressed last Thursday, October 20, at the annual Green Summit, a think tank where students form initiatives to tackle important environmental issues within the community. These initiatives, which range from everything from hydraulic frac­turing awareness to eliminating plastic bags in Hamilton, each have five to ten members that will work throughout the year to implement a plan within the community.

“It’s an environmental think tank, where different groups get together to brainstorm new initiatives to improve sustainability at Colgate and the Hamilton community,” junior Jennifer Taylor said.

Taylor organized the summit this year along with seniors Sarah Ellis, Laura Isanuk and Eric Spencer. The approximately 60 attendees of the summit each paired with one of the initia­tive groups to brainstorm the goal of the group and map out a plan on how to execute it within the year. Some of the initia­tives, such as composting, were already linked to a current club on campus while others, such as hydraulic fracturing and the Eco-Olympics, are not tied to a specific campus group.

But regardless of whether an initiative is connected with a student organization or not, the goal of the groups remain the same.

“The summit pushes students to get involved in something they care about,” Taylor said.

An important step taken this year was the summit’s focus on each group’s specific goal and their accountability for that project. Each initiative will report their progress on the initiative through­out the year in order to encourage the groups to reach their goals. Then, in the spring, the summit will hopefully convene again to “celebrate each initiative’s achievements.”

Sophomore Maddy Butts formed the Environmental Edu­cation initiative with fellow sophomore Danielle Glassman around their new student club, Green Earth Gang, which teaches second graders at Madison Central School about the importance of sustainability.

“We are a relatively new group, so it was a great experience to recruit new members [to Green Earth Gang],” Butts said.

Sophomore Stephanie Fitch who attended the summit said that she joined the Shapna Coffee initiative having not known much about the company beforehand.

“Now I know that [the company] actually has a positive impact on communities in developing countries,” Fitch said. “I want to help get the word out about this rising organization.”

Taylor said that the Green Summit informed students not only about their own initiatives but also the issues or causes behind the other initiatives.

“Just to have people talking about environmental issues and things they are passionate about is such a huge step,” Taylor said. “Having people discuss these topics and voice their opinions is important.”

Many of the initiatives this year were focused on educa­tion and awareness within the community. The nine initia­tive groups were focused on composting education, hydraulic fracturing awareness, environmental education, going plastic “bag-less” in Hamilton, campus recycling, 13 days of green event, Green Thumbs and local food, Shapna Coffee and the Eco-Olympics event.

“It was a very worthwhile event, and it was great for the Col­gate community to come together and discuss environmental issues right here in Hamilton,” Butts said.

Contact Cassidy Holahan at [email protected].