Student Sustainability Committee Looks Ambitiously to the Future: Members seek to engage professors, students and tackle curriculums

Whitney Bashaw, Editor-in-Chief

   Late last semester a group of students decided they wanted a bigger hand in SUNY Oneonta’s commitment to sustainability. After SA endorsement, the Students’ Sustainability Committee (SSC) was born. This semester they have begun weekly meetings that address avenues for the school to take in becoming a more sustainable institution. So far, they’ve collected a lot of ideas.

   Alex Lyakhov, a senior and one of the minds behind the SSC (along with Michael Lindquist), thinks this is important because “students are the ones who can promote change on campus.”

   As a committee, students work on researching and drafting proposals to suggest to the President’s Advisory Council on Sustainability (PACS), with whom the SSC is working closely.

   As far as innovations, the committee wants to push for bans on plastic and disposable water bottles. The biggest roadblock, according to Lyakhov, is funding, “That’s where the administration comes in,” he said. Lyakhov stressed the importance of student involvement from all departments, adding: “We would like to have more people involved in this to make sure it sustains…pun intended.”

   Last week they held a town hall-style meeting with professors and students to discuss how sustainability can be incorporated into the curriculum.

   The crux is having an interdisciplinary effort because, as Lyakov stated, “You can’t focus on one topic and ignore the rest, there’s already this emphasis in the environmental science program but it is important to other departments, too like sociology, economics and business. These are the fields in which issues like these matter.”

   Lyakhov would like the SSC to take on big issues as it develops on campus, such as eliminating fossil fuels and using local food in the dining halls, but these are long term goals. “Time needs to be put into being a self-sustaining community,” he said.

   The SSC meets every other Wednesday at 5 p.m. in the lobby of Science 1 and encourages participation from anyone interested. For more information can contact Lyakhov at [email protected].

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