By SARA MITRANO
For the first time, Allegheny’s EcoReps have been accepted to attend the Clinton Global Initiative University (CGI U) conference sponsored by former President Clinton.
For the conference, approximately 1,200 students from colleges and universities around the world are invited to discuss and learn about global issues including poverty, climate change, public health, and human rights.
To apply, a group of two to four students must submit a Commitment to Action- a pledge to take a specific action to make the world a better place.
Four of Allegheny’s EcoReps (Ian Aruto, ’14, Taylor Hinton, ’14, Nathan M, ’14, and Sara Schombert, ’13) have been working together for the past semester on their Commitment to Action entitled “Minimization-Mania,” which is a planto reduce waste on campus.
CGI U wil be held at the University of California, San Diego from April 1-3. Once the students arrive at CGI U, they attend workshops where they present their plan to other students.
Keisha Senter, the director of CGI U explained that the conference does not place students into particular workshops, but the students decide which workshops they want to attend.
“They can choose to go to topics that are not necessarily related to their commitment,” she said. “It’s an opportunity for students to interact and exchange with other projects as well as work and hear from the speakers.”
“The conference will be an opportunity to share our ideas with other student groups and make them better through constructive criticism,” said EcoRep Nathan Malachowski, ’14.
After the conference is over, these students plan to bring innovative ideas back to campus to further promote the college’s sustainability initiatives.
Students from past conferences give progress reports on their old projects and new commitments are also considered.
To carry out their commitment, “Minimization-Mania”, these EcoReps thought of ideas to get the students involved in a semester-long program promoting waste reduction on campus.
One event they are helping to coordinate is the 2nd annual “Trashion Show” where students are invited to recycle and reuse materials like newspapers, plastic bags, and wrappers to create homemade costumes and show them off on the runway. The event will be taking place on March 5 in the campus center lobby from 6-8 p.m.
“A number of activities promoting the reuse of seemingly spent items have been planned,” said EcoRep Sara Schombert, ’13, “Other entertaining activities and informational sessions revolving around the minimization theme will take place, such as documentary screenings and thrift exchanges.”
Another event that the Eco-Reps are trying to organize is Valentine themed. Starting Feb. 7, students will be able make Valentines out of recyclable materials during lunch hours in the campus center.
“We establish a goal, then everyone goes off and thinks about it on their own,” explains EcoRep Taylor Hinton, ’14, “We think about the things that are important to us. For example, in one of my classes we were learning about how a lot of electronic waste ends up in Africa, so [the EcoReps] want to establish an e-waste program on campus where students can recycle cell phones, batteries, etc.”
The EcoReps are not a very well known group on campus, but they are vital to the campus’ goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2020.
The group is composed of seven Allegheny students who work together throughout their four years at Allegheny to improve the campus’ sustainability.
With the help of Geffen and Kelly Boulton, Allegheny’s sustainability coordinator, the EcoReps learn about opportunities and conferences like CGI U.
“Basically [Geffen and Boulton] provide the opportunities, but it is really EcoRep run,” Hinton said.