Interviews with Student Leaders

July 16, 2018

One way to grow your environmental club is to learn from other clubs! I interviewed 2 environmental leaders about the structure and projects initiated by their club and here I am to share with you all they had to say!

 

Abbey Mui from Carnegie Mellon University studies information systems and was formerly a co-president of their club called Sustainable Earth

 

Q: What are some successful projects your club has carried out and how did you go about succeeding?
A: We did a "takeover week" where we tried to takeover the campus with different messages and events throughout the week. We used America recycles day as the anchor.
Another project we found success with is the annual sustainability weekend conference we host yearly. Further our Self watering Arduino garden entered into a competition and we created a really big art piece to display on campus.

 

Q: What are some projects you guys plan to work on within this upcoming year?
A:We plan on continuing old projects as well as new initiatives such as composting.

 

QHow do you recruit new members and keep members engaged in order to ensure stable attendance?
A: To keep people engaged we like to ask people what they like and do projects within that intersection. For example, we had an art x sustainability and a tech x sustainability groups.

 

Q: What are some challenges your club has faced and how did you go about working through them?
A: We definitely had attendance decrease as the year went on and we struggled to maintain membership.

 

Q: How are your meetings constructed? Do you have them weekly, biweekly, monthly?

A: Weekly meetings and email communication

 

 

 

 

Jack Sypher is a recent graduate of University of Delaware in which he studied Environmental Science and was the UDo Sustainable Committee Chair for Students for the Environment, which according to Sypher is a a club whose goal is “to make meaningful and lasting environmental changes to our community-the club, campus, and larger newark area.”

 

Q: How are your meetings constructed? Do you have them weekly, biweekly, monthly?

A: Each committee met biweekly alternating with the other committee so the club met weekly. My meetings were meant to be organic, with some overarching goals for the semester/year and the week in mind but with enough flexibility to shift in direction and scope at every meeting.

 

Q: What are some successful projects your club has carried out and how did you go about succeeding?
A: UDo sustainable was able to eliminate plastic bags from the pods. We accomplished this by engaging with robin moore, she's in charge of distribution of all aramark's products at the dining facilities and pods on UD’s campus. By reaching out with our concern she was able to find alternatives.

 

In addition, we hosted a sustainable food conference which drew students and employees of universities from several states, teaching them the progress and challenges of organic and ethical food systems in the Eastern US. the conference wouldn’t have been possible without green allies, who partnered with us to organize the conference.

 

Further, we educated interested members into how to convert turfgrass and invasive species into native meadows through trainings by one of our friends in the delaware bee watchers organization
Definitely a common threat through all of our successful projects has been knowing the right people to reach out to and working with them, sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly.

 

Q: What are some projects you guys plan to work on within this upcoming year?
A:The biggest project next year will be developing our own native meadow on campus, by partnering with grounds we hope to have the seeds spread by november and the plugs in the

ground by march. Other than this long term project, i hope to see uDosustainable pursue the passions of its members next year- the more passionate the people and the more people that are passionate about a project, the more likely it’ll be a success. There's no “wrong” envr projects which is a part of the beauty of this committee, it should empower its members to achieve their own metric of success whether that's reducing waste from ketchup packets and plastic straws or creating meadows or educating the public on the impacts of industrial agriculture- all of these are goals worth pursuing and any progress is a step in the right direction.

 

Q: How do you recruit new members and keep members engaged in order to ensure stable attendance?
A:The activity fairs in the fall and spring are our main recruitment techniques and word of mouth is our second technique. Members that love what we do are more likely to bring friends and spread the word. It's also the same way we keep members engaged-give members the tools to pursue their passions and they’ll keep coming back

 

Q: What are some challenges your club has faced and how did you go about working through them?
A: One of our biggest challenges is ensuring our projects have staying power. College takes most people 4 years which means our board members and our members in general have a high turnover rate. The way to keep our club and our projects relevant is by making sure were working on worthwhile projects that our members genuinely care about. The flexibility to grow in different directions when people come to us with new ideas is hugely important . it means we can support our members, who in turn, support us.

 

 

 

 

 

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