Environmental roundtable provides forum for sustainability issues on campus: next meeting Wednesday

Tree Planting with Rally

There have been many visible sustainability upgrades to the Ripon College’s campus over the past few years: new lighting, new drinking fountains, reusable mugs. But one new initiative isn’t visible in any of the physical objects on campus.

The Environmental Leadership Roundtable is about supporting the human infrastructure for sustainability on campus. The Roundtable, which meets four times a semester, brings together students, staff and faculty who have an interest in environmental and sustainability issues. The next meeting will be held Wednesday, Oct. 28.

Participants have included professors who teach in the Environmental Studies program, the student leader of EGOR, the former sustainability coordinator, Sodexo student sustainability interns and others. The group is open to all who wish to participate.

David William Scott, Pieper Chair of Servant Leadership and assistant professor of religion, convenes the group. “I’m not really ‘in charge’ of the group,” he explains, “since we’re not an official body within the College and we don’t have a specific mission. Instead, it’s more about fostering conversations — providing a place for people to come together to collaborate and share information.”

The group grew out of student requests. In the spring of 2014, Scott was working with a group of mostly students to plan Earth Week activities. The students expressed how useful they found these joint meetings with individuals from different groups working on environmental issues on campus. They asked Scott to continue the joint meetings in the fall, and he agreed.

Since the group began meeting, they’ve discussed a wide range of topics. They provided feedback on the College’s new energy policy. They shared resources in support of student projects such as the Grab ’n Go program, RecycleMania and Spring Cleaning Recycling Drive. They again coordinated activities for Earth Week 2015 and discussed the possibility of a fall Prairie Days in the future.

Scott says it’s hard to say where the group will go in the future. “It really depends on who shows up and what their passions are, and that always changes from year to year,” he says. “I just hope that future generations of students continue to find attractive this opportunity to work with each other and with faculty and staff on important issues.”

The group currently meets every third Wednesday at 12:15 p.m. in the Commons. Those who are interested can check the Events Calendar or email David W. Scott at [email protected]