By Bethany Boback
While the students of West Virginia University are accustomed to clubs and businesses promoting their causes in Mountainlair, the student union, the Conscious College Road Tour caught the eye of every student. The themed tables around the union staffed by enthusiastic Eco-Reps and other volunteers convinced students to chat about the different displays. These students learned about a variety of sustainable topics and walked away with free products, knowledge, and inspiration. The information station was a fantastic way to draw students in to talk about sustainability, why it is important, and how to change your life to be more “green.” WVU students also received a huge dose of encouragement from Judi Shils, Executive Director of Turning Green, to take action on campus.
“The Conscious College Road Tour caught the eye of every student.”
The best part about the Conscious College Road Tour stopping at WVU was the Town Hall meeting that occurred after the tabling event. The WVU Eco-Reps set up tables (which included more than enough free Chipotle) in the Towers Dorm and waited for students to arrive. Many students representing different WVU clubs and majors took time out of their evenings to learn more about Turning Green. The turn-out for the Town Hall was the first great success of the night, being in a room filled with like-minded people ready to make change.
What happened next was empowering. The group was asked a question: “If you could change anything on campus, what would it be?” Ideas came out of every corner and were jotted down for future reference. The top three favorite ideas were improving energy use, community gardens, and eliminating Styrofoam on campus. The room split into three groups to discuss and come up with a plan of action to take-on the project ideas. When it was time for each group to share their plans, everyone was listening as great information was shared. These ideas could be manifested with organization and commitment! There is nothing like multiplying student voices to address a cause.
At the end of the night, there was excitement, friendships made, and networking between clubs. There is undoubtedly a student interest in changing behavior on campus to be more sustainable and healthy. It is wonderful to report that as a result of all the effort of Turning Green, the WVU Office of Sustainability, and student participation, a student chapter of Turning Green was formed and many ideas are being planned so we can hit the ground running in the fall semester!
Check out WVU’s post about the Conscious College Road Tour on their Office of Sustainability website! http://wecan.wvu.edu/conscious-college-road-tour
Bethany Boback is a sophomore at West Virginia University majoring in Elementary Education. Bethany is also Eco-Rep for the WVU Office of Sustainability and Chair of WVU Turning Green. This is her first blog as a guest writer for Turning Green.