By Missy Martin
This past week Belmont University hosted its second annual Campus College Road Tour stop. The road tour is a six-week national tour to 16 universities that aims to inform, inspire, and mobilize students to transition their lives and school campuses from conventional to conscious. Each stop along the way features a Conscious Information Station, an interactive and informational set up highlighting key lifestyle categories, and a Town Hall Meeting, an evening where a sustainability initiative is created for implementation on the school’s campus.
During the Conscious Information Station at Belmont, students engaged in in-depth conversations on how to make simple, tangible changes in their own lives. Hundreds of students were inspired to use non-toxic products such as Dr. Bronner’s soap and Acure’s shampoo and conditioner and consume food from organic, non-GMO companies like Amy’s Kitchen, Nutiva, RW Garcia and Annie’s. Students also became aware of ethical and sustainable companies for cleaning, reducing waste, wearing clothes, using hemp, and creating a living space.
Belmont junior, Sandra Bojic, teaches other students about sustainable food. Did you know a conventional apple has an average of 42 pesticide residues?!
Last year, amazing collaboration and transformation took place at the Town Hall Meeting, and now this year, students took the tools, resources, and energy from the last two years to further develop an amazing campaign for bringing bees back to Belmont’s campus and campuses nationwide.
The idea for the campaign #BringBacktheBees began on the third road tour stop at the University of Montana. Students were told that bees have not been present on their campus for some time, most likely due to pesticide spraying, so they took the opportunity at their Town Hall Meeting to start the campaign to bring back the bees.
After hearing about this idea, Belmont students noticed that their school also faced a similar problem and wanted to expand on the campaign for their own campus and all campuses lacking bees. Through the creation of a seven-step framework – research, education, marketing and public relations, narrative change, economics, solutions, and eco-conversations – students developed a process for launching and implementing the #BringBacktheBees campaign. For Belmont’s campus, specifically, students called the project “BEE-ing Belmont.
Through the Conscious College Road Tour, Belmont students realized they have the power to take action and build momentum for a safe, healthy, and pollinator-friendly campus. They are already taking steps to make their campus green and transition from toxic chemicals to safe and healthy alternatives. With the foundation from last year, Belmont’s goal was to make large-scale transformations. The unique, interactive experience of the road tour allowed Belmont students to develop ideas, create a timeline, and begin to implement those transformations.
Through this experience, students used their voices to be catalysts for change. We can’t wait to hear the voices of the students at the next schools on the tour and see the positive change everyone is going to make! Change happens… allow for the possibility!
A sophomore at Belmont University from Naperville, Illinois, Missy Martin is pursuing a double major in environmental science and social entrepreneurship with a minor and concentration in public relations and contemporary social issues, respectively. She expresses her passion for environmental and food justice through her involvement in speech and debate team where she has competed nationally with a poetry program emphasizing food deserts. Missy is also the project manager of Cultivate, Belmont University’s student-run garden, which exists to provide the Belmont and Nashville communities with sustainable agricultural options while encouraging individuals to take an active role in their food choices. Her journey with Turning Green started when she volunteered for the Conscious College Road Tour. PGC provided her the tools and resources to communicate change, and now Missy has the support of many passionate leaders and school administrators.