Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Lindsey Jacobson - On Student Participation in Sustainability

Lindsey Jacobson - Student - Class of 2010

Sustainability Office: What is the Green Summit and how did you get involved?

Lindsey: The Green Summit is a collaborative think tank made up of students, faculty, staff and community members who come together in an open forum to brainstorm and then execute ways to make Colgate more sustainable. Participants break up into groups and present their ideas to everyone at the summit. The goal is to complete their initiative by Earth Day.

I got involved in the Green Summit during my Sophomore year. I was looking for a way to take a more active role in the environmental movement on campus and Dimitri Wohns told my friend Katelyn and me that the organizers of The Green Summit needed an extra hand. I went down to the first planning meeting and was excited to help out; it is a wonderful and highly effective operation! I'm glad to be a part of it.

The beauty of The Green Summit is that it is truly a grass-roots program; the ideas, accountability and results all stem from the participants. As a planner, my only responsibility is to give people the tools they need to accomplish their own goals.

Sustainability Office: What has the Green Summit achieved so far?

Lindsey: The Green Summit is responsible for creating the Green Bikes program, using biodegradable products in the dining hall, reduced water bottle usage on campus, and increased overall environmental awareness at Colgate.

Sustainability Office: Is it hard to get involved and what motivates you to do the things you do?

Lindsey: I never found it hard to get involved; I find it hard to stay out of activities! I first became passionate about the environment after attending the Power Shift conference in 2007. My friend Katelyn Ciolino was organizing a trip to attend and I decided to go on a whim. As I began to educate myself, I started to get more and more "environmental anxiety." When we got back to campus, we were all pumped to do something, anything to help! From then on, I was completely involved in every way I could be! Now I joke that I "blame" Katelyn for everything I do at school.

My friends often see what I do and ask me how they can help. My response is always how do you think you can help? I tell them to come to meetings and then see what interests them. There are no points for being involved so you have to feel personally attached to your projects; this is something we stress at The Green Summit. I was able to take part in the movement by seeing a niche for my media interests and created projects for myself. I am motivated by a simple love for what I do. I feel passionately about the environment and have a skill set that supports media outreach so for me it was natural to try to combine the two. Plus it's fun!

Sustainability Office: How do you personally feel about sustainability and how do you incorporate it in your life?

Lindsey: I think about my own carbon footprint all the time. After the power shift conference in 2007 I decided I would become a vegetarian. I also do not have a car and I try to re-use and recycle whatever I can. I do what I can on a personal level but I know I cannot do everything. I believe if everyone did just one thing, we could all really do something.

Sustainability Office: What advice would you give to students who would like to get involved?

Lindsey: Just do it! Whatever your idea is, go for it! If you need support, come to any of the environmental groups on campus; we can direct you and help you but in the end it has to be you to get it done. Even if you are unsure if you can complete it, just start it and see what happens.
If you don’t have an idea and just want to get involved, again come to any of the groups and volunteer for something. Trust me, we can ALWAYS use an extra hand!

Sustainability Office: What have you personally achieved in terms of sustainability while at Colgate?

Lindsey: Personally, I have helped to manage The Green Summit, Earth Day Celebrations, attended the Power-Shift conference, represented Colgate at the 22nd National Conference for Undergraduate Research with four PSAs (Planet Survival Announcements) I created with Shae Frydenlund, helped manage the sustainability tab, worked within the Campus Ecology Group, helped run Focus The Nation and The National Teach-In and interviewed visiting artists about ecoart activism. In the fall, I studied abroad in Barcelona and did an independent honors research project on Environmental Refugees. Last summer I interned for The Canary Project, a non-profit organization that uses visual media, events, and artwork that build public understanding of human-induced climate change and energize commitment to solutions. Working with The Canary Project helped me see that eco-activism comes in all shapes and sizes; it inspired me to do more projects with film and media to raise awareness. One of my future goals is to create a documentary about Environmental Refugees.

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