The Student News Site of Colorado State University

The Rocky Mountain Collegian

The Student News Site of Colorado State University

The Rocky Mountain Collegian

The Student News Site of Colorado State University

The Rocky Mountain Collegian

Student-led organizations work toward sustainable future

Student-led+organizations+work+toward+sustainable+future

Collegian | Sophia Sirokman

Barnaby Atwood, Staff Reporter

Different sustainability organizations on campus have started planning their events for the semester, which include volunteering opportunities and projects related to clothing consumption.

The Student Sustainability Center, hosted in the School of Global Environmental Sustainability, is both a resource center and a club on campus that helps facilitate the growth of different student sustainability projects at Colorado State University.

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“Our job is really to be an incubator for student projects in sustainability, to help students across majors and anywhere on campus build out projects that they think are going to have a positive impact on the community or on this campus in the sustainability realm,” said Sam Moccia, the director of the Student Sustainability Center. “That’s really our model, is being a support center and a resource space and sometimes a communication hub between sustainability groups and clubs on campus.”

One project the center is helping with is The Patchwork Initiative, a project made in collaboration with the SSC and CSU’s department of design and merchandising. The project aims to reduce clothing consumption through education about the practices of the textile and fashion industry as well as different workshops where basic clothing repair techniques are taught. 

“They’re all just various student SSC initiatives,” Moccia said. “They’re kind of things that we would float out, and then if they take a life of their own like The Patchwork did, that’s a wonderful thing. We’re working now and at this moment on a series of exploring climate grief and how students and people in our generation especially can learn and really understand what it’s like to grieve and cope with climate change and the mental health impacts of that.”

Along with the SSC, there are multiple clubs on campus focused on sustainability, such as the Zero Waste Team, a club many students are most likely aware of because of their work at different sporting events.

“Our main goal is to get the campus and the community involved in environmental issues. Specifically, our focus is environmental justice. So we do a lot of volunteer events. We do a lot of community events, including cleanups (and) many educational events to talk about different sustainability practices that we can do on an individual level.” -Reaghan Fields, CSU Defend Our Future co-ambassador

“My team is like a sustainability-based club that focuses a lot on just waste stream,” said Sam Cummings, vice president of Zero Waste Team. “We go to events, and we actually helped them actively sort their waste. So (we) put recycling (in) recycling bins, compost in the compost bin and move any trash that’s in either of those into the landfill bin. We also do a lot of education and events that we will put on just (to) promote (a) lower-waste lifestyle, kind of a minimalism lifestyle.”

Along with event waste sorting, the club provides miscellaneous sustainability-related events such as mending meetings, where they teach how to help repair clothing, or other craft events surrounding sustainability.

The team will host a mending meeting Feb. 2, and their first waste-sorting event of the semester will be a men’s basketball game Feb. 4. Additionally, they are holding a candle-making event Feb. 11 for Valentine’s Day.

“We’ve kind of become a little bit of education, but we also still stick to our roots, and we have lots of events where we’re out there getting dirty and stuff,” Cummings said.

Another sustainability organization on campus is CSU’s chapter of Defend Our Future, which is a nationwide nonprofit organization and a project of the Environmental Defense Fund.

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Reaghan Fields is a chapter co-ambassador with Rebekah Flannery and helps organize the different events they host.

“Our main goal is to get the campus and the community involved in environmental issues,” Fields said. “Specifically, our focus is environmental justice. So we do a lot of volunteer events. We do a lot of community events, including cleanups (and) many educational events to talk about different sustainability practices that we can do on an individual level.”

The organization also partners with local businesses to encourage them to adopt more sustainable practices. They visit local and state government offices to bring attention to sustainability issues in Fort Collins and fight for legislative aid.

One such partnership is work with the FoCo Cafe, a nonprofit and pay-what-you-can restaurant in Fort Collins. Defend Our Future will be volunteering at the FoCo Cafe Feb. 4 to help prepare food and clean.  

“As we become more of a presence on campus and more people know about us, we find it’s very helpful to reach out to other organizations that specialize in things that we don’t,” Fields said. “The more people you have working on this together, the more students on campus will be involved and the more impact you have on campus, and you get a whole variety of specialties involved in these different events.”

Reach Barnaby Atwood at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @Barnaby_Atwood

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