Sustainability club

By Cailean Mcleod

Whatcom’s Sustainability Club is open for students interested in taking part in sustainability-driven activities geared toward learning and community enrichment.

Liz Cunningham, Club Vice President, said that anyone wanting to make a change in their community and the environment would find that the Sustainability Club is a good place to start.
“We are trying to give an outlet where students can learn about our environment and ways to help out the community,” Cunningham said.
The club meets every Wednesday from 4–5 p.m. in Kulshan Hall, room 224.
Sustainability Club advisor, Jacob Spaich, said that the average student attendance in club meetings is around four to eight people.
Spaich said the only thing students have to do for a membership is to attend meetings, engage in on-topic conversation, and participate in club activities and events on and off campus. Spaich added that experience in a sustainability-focused class is recommended.
Cunningham and Spaich said a core part of what the Sustainability Club revolves around is giving students the liberty to contribute ideas and execute plans to improve the environment around campus and the Bellingham area. Another core part is educating other community members about sustainability.
Sustainability Club member Paul Stroud said, “The key is to get more manpower to be able to make progress on these plans. The problem is we only have a handful of people, so we are severely underpowered.”
Cunningham said the club recently helped install water bottle refill stations in each of the campus buildings in order to cut the number of water bottles thrown away.
In addition, Stroud said that the club has proposed several projects and implementations towards further campus sustainability, including an outdoor garden, changes to printing policies to reduce paper usage, and recyclable food utensils.
“Our core value is to make both Whatcom and the Bellingham community more aware about the environment and about what we can do to help it,” Cunningham said. “A lot of people think that sustainability is just about recycling, but there is a lot more to it than that.”
Cunningham said examples of outlets include coordinating with county land groups such as the county’s wildlife protection agency, Whatcom Land Trust, and Bellingham Parks and Recreation for work parties.
The work parties that club members typically do are litter cleanup and planting trees around the city neighborhoods and parks.
Cunningham said that in addition to work parties they recruit guest speakers and show documentaries periodically in order to spread information about environmental sustainability.
Spaich said that the club has plans to show more, but where they will be shown is still pending.
Both Cunningham and Spaich expressed that more student body participation would contribute to the overall well-being of the college campus.
“I think it would be a really good thing to see more participation, because working with these topics is very valuable to how we create and operate our society,” Spaich said.
“Sustainability is all about the fact that we only have one planet to live on, and everything we do has an impact on it,” Stroud said.

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