Sustainability week encourages student involvement

By: Ellen Siefke ~Head Copy Editor~

Photo courtesty of | Xavier students are encouraged to help find green solutions for campus.

Xavier’s Sustainability Week takes place next week, Oct. 23- 29, and will feature events ranging from panel discussions about sustainability efforts on campus to a presentation about bats.

According to Sustainability Club President Carmelle Wasch, the annual event is put on to create a larger presence in both the Xavier and greater Cincinnati communities. Dr. Nancy Bertaux, co-chair of the university’s Sustainability Committee, explained that this year’s theme is Climate Justice, which includes ecologically sound and economically fair practices and policies for those affected by climate change.

“I want to get students to understand climate justice and significant insights into the role of the community and Xavier University in promoting that,” Bertaux said.

“Something that many people don’t understand is that those with the most resources are best able to adapt and avoid the consequences of climate change, but those with the least resources end up with the most dire consequences.”

The week will kick off on Oct. 24 with the Sustainability Heroes Gallery Opening and Reception. The gallery highlights those who were important to the community in advocating for environmental changes.

This year’s honoree is Father Ben Urmstrom, the founder of Xavier’s Peace and Justice Programs. The event will take place from 4-5 p.m. in Fenwick’s Mission and Identity Conference Room.

The next day, Oct. 25, is Sustainability Day and will feature a panel that includes Wasch and four other members of organizations throughout Cincinnati. Bertaux will introduce the panel and give a few words about the Climate Justice theme.

Each panelist will focus on a different topic. The speakers will have prepared a set of questions and issues for moderator Dr. Gabe Gottlieb to bring up and will take turns discussing their ideas. The panel takes place from 4-5 p.m. in Kennedy Auditorium.

In addition to the panel, an information table will be available outside the auditorium from 3:30- 4 p.m. prior to the event’s start. Soup Cycle Cincy, an organization that delivers soup to underprivileged communities via bicycle, will be present as well throughout the day.

The final event of the week takes place on Oct. 27 when Nicole Gunderman, a Seasonal Educator at the Gorman Farm, gives a presentation on bats.

Wasch explained that this dovetails off the club’s construction of bat houses last year. Gunderman will discuss the importance of the species to local environments as well as various misconceptions about them.

Wasch ultimately hopes that the week will stimulate more student involvement in sustainability efforts. She encourages students to attend the club’s next meeting, which will be held at 7 p.m. on Oct. 30 in the Innovation Center.

“My goals for this year are for students to see an active, cohesive entity on campus that encompasses academics and extracurriculars,” Wasch said. “I want students to want to get involved. If I can inspire even just one person, that’s a win.”