Feature Story: Sustainability Chats

8 10 2012

Many students at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville have asked what sustainability is when the Student Organization for Sustainability tries to reach out to them. So, SOS came up with a solution to deliver their message and educate the student body.

On Sept. 18, SOS hosted the first of many Sustainability Chats. These chats create an opportunity for students and teachers of all departments to get together to learn about and discuss sustainability.

The message SOS wants to get out with the Sustainability Chats, is that sustainability touches upon all fields and majors. Showing students this will hopefully help them make connections between sustainability and their own lives.

Kim Lee, president of SOS, said, “The chats create a chance for students to see what is going on in their fields as well as other fields of academia.” Also, they provide a chance for professors to teach whatever and however they want since it is not in a traditional classroom setting. The chats are simply supposed to be informal discussions.

The student organization wants students to see how important sustainability is no matter what career path they choose to follow, but they also want students to go above and beyond the call of duty when it comes to their education.

The idea of the Sustainability Chats came from Mark Veverka’s former experience with interactive classrooms. Veverka, vice president of SOS, said, “Instead of just listening to a lecture in these classes, the students asked questions, directed the discussion to a point and had quite a lot of input.  These classes were truly a platform for seeking knowledge and for students to expand their education.”

The Sustainability Chats took place in the Maple/Dogwood room in the Morris University Center at SIUE. From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., three different teachers from three different departments on campus talked about what they believe sustainability is and why it is important. Those who attended the chats got to hear about sustainability from the perspective of geography, sociology, and philosophy. Veverka said, “The professors chose their own format and subjects. They were able to teach from the heart on what they are passionate about. The entire hour is supposed to be very interactive so the students can become involved in the learning process.”

The next Sustainability Chats will be taking place on Nov. 7 in the Maple/Dogwood room from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. again. This time around, speakers from the Anthropology Department, English Department and National Corn to Ethanol Research Center will be speaking. This is a great opportunity for any student at SIUE to come learn about sustainability and get ideas on how they can help the sustainability movement.



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