Who is participating in the switch to sustainability? In the fall of last semester, the Student Environmental Caucus changed their identity to the “Green Jacks” in hopes of framing sustainability in a way that inspires school spirit (NAU Lumberjacks) and expands the spectrum of sustainability at NAU. The group went to tailgates and sporting events wearing our Earth Week T-shirts while handing out sustainably produced wine and recycling literature to the student and alumni tailgaters. Along with WACBAT (the Weatherization and Community Building Action Team), we hosted a solar panel crowd-funding event for the local Murdoc Community Center, which communicated the relationships between renewable energy and the liberty of Flagstaff as a community. So, sustainability issues inherently relate to us all. This semester, the Green Jacks hope to take that idea and work towards an equal representation and participation of the student body when it comes down to the topic of NAU’s commitment to carbon neutrality.
One focus right now is Earth Week 2012 — which just so happens to coincide with International Week and International Volunteer Week. We just started hosting weekly meetings in the NAU Health and Learning Center every Friday at 2:30pm (rm 2405/7). Everyone is invited to attend, and in the first two weeks we’ve had representatives from NAU’s Learning Communities, the City of Flagstaff, and NAU Civic Service Institute — among other diverse attendees. But that’s not enough. The Green Jacks are fostering relationships with NAU faculty, staff and administration which can be maintained and strengthen as the university reaches for it’s goals of carbon neutrality by 2020.
Particularly, WACBAT is organizing an event on 4/20 called “Blackout Day.” The idea is that various buildings and dorms on campus will shut off their power for a few hours — and everyone bikes/walks/buses down to a solar-powered concert. We want the Greek community, all the dorms, and the ASNAU student government (and more groups) to sponsor the event – in addition to other Arizona universities (ASU, UofA, and Prescott College) hosting similar events at the same date and time! The goal is not to just host an event, but to build on the notion that engagement as a student at the university level can foster effective civic engagemnt in Flagstaff and beyond.
There is a lot to say about full-spectrum sustainability and NAU’s goals, but fostering a broader group of participation this semester will hopefully defy the stereotype of mutual exclusivity pertaining to sustainability, and all else.