Q&A: Former environmental director says he was pushed out of ASCSU

Jonathan Matheny

The former ASCSU director of environmental affairs John Roos sat down with The Collegian to discuss his decision to leave ASCSU.  Roos says he was asked to leave a few weeks ago for unspecified reasons by ASCSU.  Director of environmental affairs was a new position this fall.

So when was the first time you were approached about leaving your position of Director for Environmental Affairs at ASCSU?

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Well, it is hard to determine exactly when it all started.  From the beginning, the department was not as traditional, and so was I.  It is kind of a fringe group with a different issue: sustainability.  They’re a lot more about talking the talk, while I walk the walk, and they stopped some of the things I tried to get going.

What types of things did you try that they stopped?

One of the bucks that stopped was my department releasing the Freshman Fifteen. That was pretty much just a revamp of a historically negative aspect of going to college.  I wanted to build on pop culture, and I wanted to make going green cool. I also wanted to bring in some kind of legislation to look at doing zero-waste events.  We have no sustainability requirements and I think it’s time to step it up and at least look at the carbon footprint of the event.

Why were you asked to leave?

Well, I think it was my work, but I’ve heard from some other people that they were actually trying to push me out. I turned in one or two reports late and they were upset at the rough language we used in the Freshman Fifteen. We used references to the f-word in the Freshman Fifteen. There were also some issues about me not dressing the part, which is interesting because this is part of my spirituality. We were talking about bringing a lot of voices into ASCSU but then they pushed out one of the most diverse voices on this campus.

How did you define your role as director of environmental affairs?

Sustainability – sometimes business as usual is doing the opposite of that. I don’t really think we did that. It’s still kind of business as usual, which isn’t what I thought I would be doing.

How did you perceive ASCSU saw your position?

Well, that’s hard to say because I wasn’t even trained really. I was given a job description and went to the Fall Retreat in August, and then expected to just go with it. It’s a new position with a new person. I guess I wasn’t crafted as well as I could have been into the person they wanted. If they could have done more to craft me in how to walk, talk and act like they wanted, I would have been extremely powerful with those new skills. I guess they just wanted me to be the student voice for sustainability.

Do you think you did everything you could to fulfill your responsibilities as director for environmental affairs?

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I just feel like I did above and beyond what anybody could have done with that position … maybe a little rough around the edges, but it kind of hurts because I feel kind of disenfranchised when I was really trying to be involved. I’m really trying to radiate love and compassion and sunlight. I think we really had a shot. They pushed out one of the most diverse voices that they had and I feel bad for that. I feel sorry that I can’t bring that voice anymore.

Collegian ASCSU Beat Reporter Jonathan Matheny can be reached online at news@collegian.com or on twitter @jonathanmathen2