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Liaison network proliferates, creating a culture of sustainability
Posted on Thursday, Aug. 1, 2013
Sustainability Liaisons are members of the campus community who have expressed a desire to learn more about sustainability and to engage their peers in developing sustainable behaviors. Several liaison groups bring these individuals together each month to learn about topic areas and what they can contribute to in their daily lives. Liaisons bring questions and ideas to the Office of Sustainability, are given suggested actions, and asked to identify ways their peer group can contribute to building a more sustainable university. Being a liaison is an academic year commitment, starting in September and ending in June 2014. Learn more, and sign up!
Workplace Sustainability Liaisons
University employees share best practices about implementing sustainable office programs. Ten liaisons participated last year, in the program’s first year. All participants reported noticeable change in their personal and professional lives, and many served as sustainability experts for their departments. They reported improved waste diversion in their workspaces as well as energy conservation, especially by turning off computer monitors. Many of their departments use single-use coffee pods, so the group shared ideas for reusable pods and pod recycling programs--several Liaisons successfully started new initiatives in their departments. The Workplace Sustainability Liaisons program relies on SCU employees who want to learn more about the impacts of their work. Liaisons are encouraged to engage their colleagues to look for ways their departments can contribute to the University’s strategic priority of justice and sustainability.
Community Facilitator Sustainability Liaisons
The CF Liaison program also started last year, with a CF representative from 6 RLCs and one from Nobili, meeting monthly to share ideas for sustainability-related programming in the Residential Learning Communities. They created a number of bulletin boards to educate their residents about topics like endangered tigers and creating a global sustainable community and served as sustainability experts for their RLC’s staff team. The CF Sustainability Liaisons were a key factor to the success of last year’s Energy Challenge. Each CF engaged their residents in energy-conserving behaviors and created fun building-wide events for the Zero Power Hour.
Students Collaborating and Organizing Opportunities and Projects for Sustainability (SCOOPS) was the first Sustainability Liaison program, started several years ago. Leaders from student organizations discuss ways to incorporate sustainability into their club’s events and operational practices. SCOOPS provides a space for student leaders to collaborate on events and gather feedback to improve programs get ideas for new initiatives. Participants include leaders from Into the Wild, BLEJIT, Retail Studies Student Association, Society of Women Engineers, and Engineers Without Borders.
Living Off-Campus and Living Sustainably (LOCALS) started as a SCOOPS project last year. LOCALS is a network for students who live off campus to learn how to develop sustainable behaviors and to engage their housemates in practices that not only help the environment, but save money and develop community. LOCALS will begin in September, and will include community-building events and peer-led skill exchange workshops and trainings about topics like vermicomposting, DIY holiday gifts, sustainable party planning, and buying “local” on a budget.
The Liaison Network connects individuals across campus to create collective action. As our Sustainability network grows, so too will the collective contributions of our liaisons and their peer groups. Each liaison group is accepting members. Commitments vary, and all involve attending a monthly meeting and participating in a few monthly actions.