"I've been passionate about environmental issues since middle school and I brought that to Kenyon with me, so when I joined ECO I found a group of kindred spirits who were interested in promoting sustainability on campus and in Gambier."
How are you involved with sustainability on campus?
"Predominately through ECO. I was a co-coordinator this past year. One thing I am really excited about is the cup campaign, which is something we are in the midst of, and will be working on next semester. Basically we want to get rid of the paper cups in Peirce, our dining hall, because they’re extremely wasteful and can’t be composted. However, Peirce has to paper cups because students take the plastic ones with them out of Peirce, for whatever reason, leaving too few cups for everyone. Students can put dishware they’ve taken out of Peirce into bins around campus, but we’ve discovered there is a huge disconnect between these bins and the return of the dishware to Peirce. ECO has applied for a sustainability grant to fund a student position, so that dishware will be collected on a weekly basis from those bins around campus.
"Next semester, ECO will be embarking on awareness campaign in tandem with the student cup collection position, where we’ll make videos and posters about the new collection sites and general sustainable dining practices. I’m excited about it because it’s something we’ve been working on for a while now, and finally it seems like the project is coming to fruition."
Off campus? "Last summer I WWOOF-ed (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms), so I interned at an organic farm in Ohio for a month. This involved animal husbandry (taking care of them), working in hoop houses, raising beds, organizing food for CSA, and helping them with sales and marketing. I really enjoyed it. It was my first hands-on experience working on a farm and it’s definitely something I’d really like to do again in the future. I would recommend to just about anybody who enjoys the outdoors."
Best class related to sustainability? "The Politics of Global Development with Professor Mood was my favorite. There was a section on sustainability where we studied environmental degradation in various places around the world. I really enjoyed that part of the class. Next year, I will be taking Global Environmental Politics with Professor Van Holde. I’m really looking forward to that, and I think after next year that will have been my favorite class taken at Kenyon."
What do you hope to see Kenyon doing sustainability-wise in the next few years? "I'd like to see Kenyon students reach out to Wiggin Street elementary, and other schools in Gambier, to work together on sustainability initiatives and programs, whether it be recycling or bringing kids to the hoop house. Also, I think the ride share program that recently started up is great because it was a market that hadn’t really been tapped into. Personally, I hope that the cup campaign is completed in the near future, or sometime before I graduate. Lastly, having solar panels on campus would be really cool."
Sonia is an international studies major with a concentration in environmental studies.