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September 20, 2017   |   Ithaca, NY

News

Ithaca College to hold sustainability week

Sustainability is more than a buzzword, and as a member of the School of Business Sustainability Committee, senior Natalie Grande said she and her co-members plan to prove it during events throughout Sustainability Week at Ithaca College from April 18 to 22.

“It’s not just the typical crunchygranola Ithaca hippie that is sustainable,” she said. “It is approaching everyone on different levels, so let’s meet them where they are and keep going.”

The inaugural Sustainability Week, organized by seniors Sarah Farella, Grande and Daniel Ruthman, will consist of panels, forums and keynote speakers such as Sandra Steingraber, distinguished scholar in residence in the Department of Environmental Studies and Sciences, and other local sustainability entrepreneurs. Steingraber is a biologist, activist and author who writes and lectures about the environment. She will be joined by a panel at 7 p.m. April 18 in Textor 102 in a discussion called “Climate Change at the Crossroads: Environmental Justice in the Age of Trump.”

The group members met through a course they took last semester called Leadership and Collaboration with Christine Bataille, assistant professor of business management. Bataille said she saw potential in the group’s plans and was not surprised that it was able to turn the project into a real event.

“After reviewing the plan they had developed, I knew the team was onto something big,” Bataille said.

The theoretical plans turned into reality when the group contacted other environmental groups including Eco-Reps, IC Animal Rights, IC Progressives, IC Enactus and IC Futures to collaborate and co-host the events. Additionally, business school professors and Dean Sean Reid have assisted in creating the weekly schedule, Grande said.

Topics such as food politics, political action under the Trump administration, local sustainable entrepreneurship, the relationship between animal products and climate change, recycling and clean alternative energy will be discussed, Grande said.

The purpose of the series of events is to educate the college and community about the reality of climate change and how they can improve their ecological footprints, Ruthman said.

“We want to make sure students and the local community are aware of what’s going on,” Ruthman said. “Knowing that they can get involved is really important to this entire week.”

Senior Josh Enderle, program manager of Eco-Reps, said the Eco-Reps have focused on recycling for this year’s Sustainability Week. This previous week, for example, Eco-Reps have walked around campus residence halls to collect recycling for their Recyclemania event, which began Jan. 2 and ran until April 1, Enderle said. He said the club has done events like this in the past.

“People have to be more aware about where recycling is and where to compost,” Enderle said.

Duncan Duke Garcia, assistant professor of management in the School of Business and head of the Business Sustainability Committee, said he is excited to hear from another keynote speaker, Marion Nestle, professor of nutrition, food studies and public health at New York University and visiting professor of nutritional sciences at Cornell University, who will be discussing her many books about food politics at 7 p.m. April 17 in Textor 102.

“I encourage the campus community to participate to the fullest in [Sustainability] Week activities and look forward to see everyone there,” Duke Garcia said.

Bataille said she thinks Sustainability Week will become an annual event at the college. Farella said she hopes the events attract a large audience and show the administration that students care about the college’s sustainability practices.

“Ithaca College has kind of branded itself as sustainable when it can do a lot better,” Farella said. “We want to show the school that students really care about this.”

This article has been corrected to say that Daniel Ruthman is a senior. The article previously said Ruthman is a graduate student. 

Falyn Stempler can be reached at fstempler@ithaca.edu or via Twitter: @falstempler