The Student News Site of Oregon State University

The Daily Barometer

The Student News Site of Oregon State University

The Daily Barometer

The Student News Site of Oregon State University

The Daily Barometer

Answering the call: Sustainability Council creates space for student action in sustainability

Riley LeCocq
Ava Wright (she/her) and (Left) Faisal Osman (he/him), pose for a photo in the office of Community Engagement and Leadership in the Student Experience Center on Nov. 29. The two are Co-Facilitators of the Sustainability Council which works to create a unified space for students to collaborate for sustainability on OSU’s campus.

Last March students left a regional sustainability conference inspired and determined to fill gaps in sustainability support on Oregon State University’s campus, and now they are doing something about it.

The Sustainability Council was launched during fall term to address calls for a unified student space dedicated to sustainability discussions and advancement.

According to the Sustainability Council co-facilitator and fourth-year environmental science student Ava Wright, following the Washington Oregon Higher Education Sustainability Conference – which OSU hosted last spring – students, the Office of Sustainability and Community Engagement and Leadership called for a unified place for those focused on sustainability to work together on campus.

“We were hearing a lot of people say, ‘why don’t we have a space where everybody comes together’,” said Wright.

Fellow co-facilitator representing CEL and fourth-year public policy student Faisal Osman, attended the conference and in conversation with CEL directors following, saw the gap specifically in connecting groups who are focused on different areas of the broad sustainability field.

“There are a lot of students who are kind of focused on the environmental aspects of (sustainability) or the more science parts of it, whereas there are people who are kind of interested in the social aspects of sustainability, such as social justice, climate justice, food insecurity,” Osman said. “We realized those kinds of  groups don’t really interact with each other.”

And thus the Sustainability Council was born, with Osmand and Wright representing their respective offices on campus leading the new program.

According to Osman, the group’s goals are to build coalition among sustainability engaged individuals and leaders, as well as learn how to be better leaders in the field.

His personal goal and that of CEL is to build more socially conscious leaders in sustainability through the council and advance conversations about how to do that on OSU’s campus.

Osman, who is personally passionate about the social justice aspects of sustainability and the disproportionate impact of sustainability issues on people of color, hopes to discuss these aspects within council meetings.

“We can not just talk about those issues, but discuss solutions to them, and then again, provide resources such as funding or connecting people, connecting students to different departments or areas on our institution that can support student-led projects (that are) trying to address these issues,” Osman said.

The group has spent their first term developing a foundation to build off of, hearing what students want the council to be and cultivating ideas for projects they want to pursue as a group.

“(We are) still trying to figure out what students would like to see in this program and seeing  just what would be the most beneficial to students,” Osman said.

Osman hopes to see students realize the concrete ways that they can create change on campus and build relationships with each other and have fun in the process.

As for next term, the group plans to expand on their work from fall term and solidly identify shared goals and values with more members. The group has not yet set their meetings but says to keep an eye on their Instagrams – @communityengagementosu and @osusustainable – or fill out the interest form on the website to be notified when they will be held.

“I can’t wait to see everything that we’ve put as a foundation in Sustainability Council into practice,” Wright said.

Was this article helpful?
Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All The Daily Barometer Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *