This blog post was written by Lindsay Millward, a Junior at Belmont University majoring in Biology. She is also VP of ECO club/Turning Green Chapter.
Belmont University, a small, Christian school in Nashville, Tennessee, was completely unknown to Turning Green until Monday March 30th. I am so proud to tell the story of an incredibly successful Conscious College Road Tour stop at my southern university.
With a little over three weeks to plan until the event, I was only slightly panicking while reserving rooms, asking for volunteers, and getting permission to host a large scale event (something I had never done before). Our ECO club was small and stagnant, so my biggest concern was how to find volunteers. However as soon as I started reaching out, students from a variety of majors were enthusiastically signing up. The moment when every volunteer slot was filled, a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders and I couldn’t have been more excited to introduce Judi and Erin to Belmont!
The morning of the event the vibrantly blue skies and quintessential spring air welcomed us. All of the displays and product samples were efficiently unpacked and setup by my team of volunteers. As the hours quickly passed, the information fair materialized and I could feel the growing excitement all around me. When we officially began at 10am students came flooding in to learn about sustainable living. My favorite part was seeing students not just grabbing free samples and leaving, but instead staying to listen to the station captains sharing their knowledge. Seeing hundreds of students, faculty, and staff smiling, laughing, and eager to learn more, inspired me greatly. This alone made all of my preparation and the volunteer’s hard work completely worthwhile.
Four hours later, plus a few sunburns, we packed up everything tightly into the rental car and moved onto the second event of the day – the Town Hall Meeting. An incredible seventy students showed up for free Chipotle dinner and to engage in a thoughtful discussion about future sustainability projects on campus. Judi opened the forum and my heart leaped as a collection of hands shot up. The list of ideas was mostly about food on campus but others included promoting the campus garden (@cultivatebelmont) and reducing plastic bag use. By the end of the night, I had a complete list of projects and a newly formed team of other student leaders.
Eco club is no longer a small, undiscoverable island. Instead, with the help of becoming a Turning Green chapter, we have connected with the entire student body and I can see Eco club/Turning Green becoming one of the more active organizations on campus. Deep down I knew there were other students who were also passionate about environmental change, wanted to improve Belmont’s sustainability, and sought to actively participate in an organization with likeminded ideas. I am so grateful that the road tour gave us a platform to find these students. The Conscious College Road Tour at Belmont University surpassed my vision for the event and I cannot begin to express how thrilled we are to have Turning Green’s continued presence on campus.