Frey-Spurlock and Adkins host information session on SAG, SOS

On Wednesday, Oct. 10, Sociology and Criminal Justice Assistant Professor Dr. Connie Frey-Spurlock and Sustainability Officer Kevin Adkins offered an informational session for SIUE students entitled “Student-Faculty Synergy and Institutional Change: A Story of Sustainability and Feminist Methodology.” The event was co-sponsored by the Women’s Studies department and the Sustainability Advisory Group (SAG).

The presentation offered a wealth of information regarding SIUE’s sustainability efforts and how students are getting involved in these efforts as well as the stories of Frey-Spurlock’s and Adkins’ deep-rooted interest in pursuing sustainability with a feminist methodology.

Raised by a feminist single mother who encouraged outdoor activity and environmental involvement, Frey-Spurlock said she was inspired by her mother to not only promote sustainability but to value the viewpoints and narratives of all individuals.

Adkins also cited his mother and his four sisters, all five of whom he credits for raising him, for instilling the importance of equality in his worldview.

Frey-Spurlock and Adkins met in 2008, when Adkins was taking a class taught by Frey-Spurlock as an undergraduate. Adkins and Frey-Spurlock shared an interest in sustainability, and in that same year, SAG was created.

SAG is a group that consists of faculty, staff, and students, and is dedicated to adopting sustainable practices and providing knowledge concerning sustainable development within the SIUE campus.

From SAG, the Student Organization for Sustainability (SOS) was created to encourage students to promote sustainability not only on a campus-wide scale but on a community and global scale as well.

Through SOS, Frey-Spurlock and Adkins have guided students in becoming environmentally conscious through events and projects and by attending conferences. Frey-Spurlock believes that SOS offers students opportunities for less traditional learning experiences.

“[The classroom] may not be the best environment for you to learn in,” Frey-Spurlock said to students at the presentation. “Maybe other outside-of-the-classroom activities–hands-on, problem-solving, going and meeting people, networking–might at least be as beneficial…than what you may find in the classroom.”

The organization’s attendance to conferences, especially the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) annual conference, have also sparked much interest in sustainability among students and has ignited much enthusiasm.

“Anyone who’s ever gone has come back really fired up. There’s been a lot of change on campus…big changes that happened as soon as they came back. They go, and they see what’s going on across the United States and Canada,” Adkins said.

Because of SAG and SOS, students, faculty, and staff have taken a proactive approach to preserving the environment. At the presentation, Adkins told the story of how he and an environmentally conscious student began SIUE’s bike share program, which houses 30 bikes on-campus for all students, faculty, and staff to use for bike rides on- and off-campus.

SOS’s and SAG’s feminist approach to learning is also apparent in their sponsored acitvities, as Frey-Spurlock, Adkins, and other members value the opinions and viewpoints of all involved, no matter what “rank” they might hold at the University.

Frey-Spurlock said that this ideal especially becomes apparent in SOS when members go to conferences because when they are there, “it’s not faculty, staff, or students. We’re here together to learn.”

SIUE students, faculty and staff are encouraged to join SAG and/or SOS to learn more about how to care for our environment through the group’s on- and off-campus activities.

SOS is hosting three activities this week that are sure to be both fun and informative for students, faculty, and staff. The events are leading up to Campus Sustainability Day, which is on Oct. 24.

On Oct. 18, SOS is hosting a costume party in the Meridan Ballroom at the Morris University Center. Attendees to this free event are encouraged dress up and participate in the theme of “vampires, werewolves, and zombies” with a spin on sustainability. The event will have door prizes, a D.J., and a “mocktail” bar sponsored by the Association of Student Against Poverty, who will be collecting clothing donations for the Oasis Women’s Crisis Center at the event.

On Oct. 19, SOS is hosting Global Campus Sustainability Day in the Morris University Center, beginning at 10:30 a.m. The event will feature a presentation from Chancellor Julie Furst-Bowe and student presentations of global sustainability initiatives.

On Oct. 20, SOS as well as members of the ECO house will participate in a dumpster dive at the University starting at 3 p.m. Those involved will be going through the campus “trash” in Parking Lot A to sort through what is really trash and what is actually recyclable.

The dumpster dive is in connection to the University’s involvement in Recylcemania, a national recycling competition among universities and colleges around the nation. The competition lasts for eight weeks and occurs in the spring.

To find out more about what SAG is doing at SIUE, fill out a bike share application, or to learn how to get more involved with SAG’s and SOS’s efforts, visit the SIUE Sustainability website. Interested students, faculty, and staff may also visit AASHE’s website for more information regarding the annual conference and the organization.

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