By Audrey Ting
This past Saturday, the JHU Sustainability Coalition had its 3rd semesterly town hall. The Sustainability Coalition is an alliance of environmental and sustainability-related student groups that strive to promote conversation, collaboration, and action around climate change and other environmental issues. The Coalition’s current member groups are Sustainable Hopkins Innovative Projects (SHIP); Students for Environmental Action; Refuel Our Future; Real Food Hopkins; JHU Take Back the Tap; Indigenous Students at Hopkins; Alliance for Clean Water; SGA (Committee for Health, Safety, and Sustainability); Wings JHU; Compassion, Awareness, and Responsible Eating for Farm Animals, and our very own Blue Jay’s Perch! The Coalition’s semesterly town hall serves as an opportunity for members of these student groups to intermingle as well as have guided discussions. The theme for this town hall was “culture change not climate change,” so discussions focused on how we can create a sustainable culture both at Hopkins and in our greater community.
The day started off with environmental trivia (Did you know that only 1% of China’s 560 million city residents breathe air that is considered safe by the European Union?), with members of the winning table each getting a free succulent. SHIP, which founded and has served as the primary organizer of the Coalition, then unveiled a new Constitution, which increases the Coalition’s autonomy by allowing groups to vote on and execute collaborative actions. Small group discussions, which were moderated by SHIP members, then sparked conversation about everything from how to make the new student center sustainable to land acknowledgments and the connection between indigenous people and environmentalism. After these discussions, tables brainstormed potential action items, which SHIP is compiling and sharing with group representatives as well as the Coalition’s Facebook group.