The Green Side of Campus

For the frenzied bunch of us who have been throwing cans into paper recycling bins or leaving the lights on in our rooms as we hurry for morning class, here is a good way to atone for those sins: get acquainted with the green groups on campus and join an environmental religion with the hope that Mother Nature forgives you. Besides – planting trees or visiting animal sanctuaries sound like they could be a lot of fun.

Sarah Lawrence Environmental Action (SLEA)

Emma Niwa and Ben Berton established Sarah Lawrence Environmental Action last year as an organization for environmental sustainability. The club brags among the most fervent environmentalists in school who undertook a variety of sustainable projects around the school last year, from replacing showerheads, to weighing food waster at Bates for waste conscience, to participating in Sustainability Meetings. Now in it’s second year, SLEA seeks to advocate sustainability by facilitating communication between the various environmental groups at Sarah Lawrence College, as well as holding a series of events designed to promote awareness, inspire change, and foster community involvement. The club is working with other environmental groups in developing a school-wide email list to promote relevant environmental events to other students.

The club meets for a weekly brunch on Sundays at 2 pm in the Elephant House (Slonim 7), to plan and coordinate Earth Day 2012 with other green groups. The meeting is a good opportunity for casual discussions for those interested in getting to know the Co-Chairs of green groups and taking leadership positions or sharing environmental initiatives. The club also organizes a monthly dinner at the Elephant House, for environmental revelrie, film screenings, and locally sourced fresh food.
For more information you can email or contact Emma Niwa ’14 or Matthew Gonzales ’15

Compost Club

Last year, Eli Colasante ran a composting one-man show and was often spotted scavenging garbage cans for waste materials at Bates and at the Pub. This year, he teamed with Laura Bradburn to start the Compost Club. Laura is a gardening enthusiast who plans to turn the compost produced into small community gardens around the campus. Though the two are currently struggling with school representatives who are against composting; they are not at all discouraged. If anything, they are more cheerful and gung-ho about achieving their goals to establish a composting facility and creating small community gardens around the school.
It’s hard not to be mesmerized by Eli who takes composting with an evangelical approach: he talks about composting in his car with the same merry as one would talk about doing road trips and goes around spreading sagacious environmental verses like: “compost is rainforest under our feet.” Eli won a grant from the school to learn more about compost, energy saving and soil ecology, and spent his summer visiting different compost facilities.

He said a large percentage of cost in waste management fall on the high transport cost. “If we could process some of the waste locally, then the money could be allocated for more useful things. Composting is the necessary link to complete the food cycle. It is an amazing way to turn waste into something productive,” says Eli.
For more information you can email or contact Eli Colasante ’13 or Laura Bradburn ‘14

Environmental Community Outreach (ECO)

When Rachel Bergquist arrived on campus two years ago, she saw a big gap between environmental enthusiasm on campus and the actual commitment the students make in their daily lives, and had yet to see an active students’ group go beyond the campus setting to the surrounding community. “We wanted to bring dedicated SLC students off-campus to show our community service prowess, and show the community that we not only care about the environment, but also about the community (that we sometimes forget we are a part of),” says Rachel, one of the co-chairs for the club. She and Jem Shepherd then created a club to act as an outlet for students to put their ideas into action, and especially those who want to be involved in the Yonkers community. The Club strives to involve Sarah Lawrence students in the greater community through environmental activism by partnering with local outside organizations for a day of service per month.

Among the things the club have done are planting trees in the Bronx with other environmental groups in the City and participating in International Day of Climate Action and making customized recycling boxes for dorm rooms. Now in its third year, ECO expects to increase involvements in the community through increased membership and collaboration with other organizations such as Green Umbrella, a group working to end hydrofracking in the state. On September 17, the Club will make its third trip to Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary – “where people treat animals like equals” – and supply a few extra hands for the day’s grounds work. “The best part about the Club is witnessing how by reaching out to the larger community we are strengthening our SLC community as well. The adventures we have and the relationships that are built in the process provide a wonderful sense of community,” says Kaia Zimmerman.

For more information you can email or contact Rachel Bergquist ’13 or Kaia Zimmerman ’14.

Outdoor Recreation Club

“It’s just magical when you’re standing on top of a mountain and see the magnificent view below,” says Jeff Levrent, one of the co-chairs of Outdoor Recreation Club. Austen Federa and Ben Berton established the Outdoor Recreation Club last year to provide a conduit for students like Jeff to get organized and engage in venturesome outdoor activities. The Club has done hiking, boldering daytrips to Bear Mountain and is looking to extend the trips into overnight camping trips for farther places like Shawan Gunks. Whether you are a season hiker or had only read Into The Wild and want to experience The Great Outdoors, the club invites students to join and explore their inner adventurers with other students. In addition to accessing all the benefits of experiencing nature, you will also get know other students at a deeper level from “tripping” together.

For more information you can email or contact Will Castelli ’13, Jeff Levrent ’14, or Galen Marshall-Clark ‘13

Every Friday and Saturday afternoon, Enviroearth club members give free environmental education to children in the Yonkers Community Garden, near Buenovista Avenue. The Club has been up and running for more than five years in coordination with Lucy Casanova-Moreno of the Greystone foundation. One notable thing about Enviroearth is that it’s more of a community than a club. Kat Wallace specifically asks that club members make the commitment to come once a week because the kids easily develop attachment to the student teachers. “We become more than teachers to them; we are role models and confidants.” The children know the club members by name and show excitement in seeing them coming to the garden week by week. Beyond the environmental education, the club also celebrates birthdays and thanksgiving in the garden. “It is a community like none I have ever been a part of and I wouldn’t trade it for anything,” says Kat Wallace, a co-chair of the club.
Through building meaningful relationships with the children, the student teachers successfully personalize the lessons; each student learns to explain things in different ways, in ways unique to their understanding, instead of mindlessly regurgitating learning material in lemming fashion.

For more information you can email Kat Wallace ‘14 at or go to the community partnerships office.


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Priscilla Liu is a multifaceted writer who complains and criticizes because deep down she believes in the good of mankind and the world can do better. She reads voraciously because she did not fit in well in high school nor was she particularly good at math. A sentient being who enjoys traveling and eating, Priscilla is from Jakarta, Indonesia, and continues to be an observant outsider in New York City. She is studying Economics to figure out why writers can’t do their jobs and afford housing at the same time.

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