Yesterday evening, a group of like-minded, eco-conscious students, faculty, and administrators gathered in McShain Lounge for the first-ever “Visions for a Sustainable Georgetown” event, a brainstorming workshop aimed at generating ideas to help Georgetown create “a concrete, measurable sustainability strategy.”
Father Kevin O’Brien, S.J., of Campus Ministry opened the event, speaking about sustainability as part of the Jesuit tradition of being “men and women for others” as well as for the natural world. Audrey Stewart, Georgetown’s Sustainability Coordinator, then outlined the goals of the workshop and gave the green-light for the workshop to begin.
The audience then divided itself among various subgroups, each concentrating on different topics such as food sourcing, transportation, and renewable energies. Student facilitators led the discussion and documented the ideas generated by the combined brainpower of the diverse group.
EcoAction President Claire Austin (SFS ’12) and GUSA Secretary of Sustainability Jessie Robbins (SFS ’12) conceived the idea of the workshop last spring. They then contacted Stewart, so that they could involve faculty and administrators to better present a cooperative and comprehensive vision for the University’s sustainable future.
As an entirely open, constructive forum, Stewart emphasized that no idea was too expensive or unfeasible to bring up, and in effect attendees shared thoughts ranging from the pragmatic to the ideal.
The “Environmental Education” group, for example, discussed the creation of rooftop gardens, and the “Energy Efficiency” group contemplated the implementation of motion sensors in campus buildings. The “Student Outreach” group developed an interesting idea about creating a position of student “Sustainability Consultant” to advise student groups and coordinators of on-campus events on how to make activities more sustainable.
Although this was only a single event, an overarching theme of the workshop was that the generation of sustainability ideas is a crucial, ongoing process.
“The conversation doesn’t end here,” Robbins said.
Photo by Tim Markatos.