Approachable Sustainability Education

Idea submitted by: Breyanne Miller - General Arts and Science (University Transfer)

My idea is to implement more sustainability education sessions throughout the college. I picture sessions at orientation, or workshop series running through out each semester that could reach more students as they move through their college experience; A guide so to speak, that engages with students and encourages them to incorporate some new environmental habits into their lives (Beyond composting and water bottles.)

Major barriers that have prevented me from changing my environmental habits at the beginning of my journey were:

1 A lack of basic education: “Why do I need to do something?” “How exactly does my decision to purchase something imported or use plastic bags and water bottles effect the world?” I needed to really understand what my role was in all of this and how I was important, even if I was just one person. This is where the motivation is created.

2: The expectation that I need to be perfect and that there is no room for error: I think that it is importing to acknowledge that there are many different factors that play into some of the decisions we need to make, and bust the mindset of all or nothing- which often leads to an entire back slide of habits. An example: I don’t like to buy plastic from the grocery store, I make my own bags and use those why I am purchasing produce. There are times when I am financially struggling and it would make more sense for me to purchase the clearance $1.49 wrapped in plastic produce. I felt a lot of shame when I needed to make this decision until a friend shared with me that it’s not about being perfect, but rather its about being aware of your decisions and making the environmentally wise ones when you have the ability to. (People need to know that it's okay to be human)

3: Not knowing where to start: There are so many suggestions of what to do to be more sustainable. In these workshops, we could really simplify the amount of information and help students create their own plan, that can be expanded upon over time.

4: A Community: It’s easier to make changes when you have a community to connect and grow with (regardless of whether you are brand new to the concept of sustainability or been aware for years). If there was a group for students to come together to learn, create and challenge themselves, it could help students make a greater difference.

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