Photo courtesy of Bronte Kass

EcoPledge's Green Week: A Conversation on Sustainability and Activism

Founded in 2005, EcoPledge is a student-run organization that strives to cultivate a sustainable and environmentally conscious community on Boston College’s campus. By presenting films and speakers, as well as sponsoring annual events like the upcoming Green Week, EcoPledge works to educate the student body on important environmental initiatives and motivate others to actively participate. The organization collaborates with faculty, staff, and fellow students to push for a more sustainable Boston College campus. EcoPledge also connects BC students with Greater Boston conservation campaigns, partaking in local community clean-ups, national environmental conferences, and hiking and camping excursions throughout New England.  

Although the executive orders of the Trump administration are expected to undo many of the previous administration’s environmental policies, this student initiative is driven to overcome legislative obstacles, beginning with the BC community. “Of course we are disappointed by federal setbacks,” says EcoPledge President Bronte Kass, MCAS ‘18. “But our team remains committed to promoting sustainability at BC, especially by facilitating easy engagement and action for people’s everyday lives.”

Since the beginning of 2017, EcoPledge has both launched the Environmental Eagle newsletter and has successfully partnered with two volunteer nonprofits in the Boston area: the Citizens Climate Lobby and the Boston Harbor Islands National and State Park. The group has also been working closely with the Office of Sustainability on the National Recyclemania Campaign, with BC Dining for the composting initiative in Mac, and with the Newton/Needham Chamber’s Environmental Committee.

Beginning next Tuesday, EcoPledge will present Green Week, a week-long annual campaign to “promote sustainability and generate activism on environmental issues,” according to the event’s Facebook pageFrom April 18 to April 21, EcoPledge will be partnering with over a dozen groups on campus, more than in any previous year. In addition to the inclusion of environmentally-focused groups, such as Real Food BC and Climate Justice, Green Week will also invite new groups, like the Italian Club and the AHANA team. Kass explains, “That’s what our Thursday event is about — celebrating with an open mic night by the Music Guild, as well as free food and games from other groups doing amazing work regarding diversity and international community on campus!”

The tireless efforts put forth by BC Dining and the Office of Sustainability are often overlooked. Thus, Green Week is EcoPledge’s positive statement of support from the Boston College community and its students to celebrate these endeavors during the spring semester. The goal of EcoPledge is to initiate a conversation regarding the environment, and to make sustainability a more relevant and mainstream idea at Boston College. It is due to these important conversations that a majority of this year’s e-board applied and will be participating in the various Green Week events. “We’ve always believed that sustainability isn’t just for people of a certain race, ethnicity, or socioeconomic class,” Kass says. “This planet and its future depends on everyone, and we are happy to be a part of that incorporation at Boston College.”

As in past years, the events will utilize O'Neill Library for art displays and film screenings and will be accompanied by a custom Snapchat filter. Ecopledge will also co-host a trivia night with CAB, which will feature environmental questions and prizes. On Thursday afternoon, Eagles for Israel and EcoPledge will host Seth Siegel, accomplished businessman and activist, for a discussion of his book Let There Be Water.  In order to involve BC students who are not typically excited by sustainable initiatives or events, the group has scheduled an art fair on the quad for Wednesday and has been collaborating with UGBC to bring companies to Friday’s Earth Day Fair. The extensive list of events can be found on Green Week 2017’s Facebook event page mentioned previously.

EcoPledge has extended this semester’s theme of “Conscious Consumerism” to the events of Green Week. Volunteers within the organization have emphasized this theme through social media posts, the library’s art displays, and the Return the Plates campaign. “For us, conscious consumerism is about more than bringing your reusable grocery bags to Wegman’s or not buying from companies that use sweatshops,” Kass explains, “it’s knowing why these decisions have a beneficial impact on the planet’s people and resources.”

Through the events of Green Week 2017, EcoPledge hopes to promote a welcoming environment for discussing topics on conservation and sustainability. The group looks to remind the student body that they can make a difference and that their actions will have an impact on the environment. However, it is more importantly a matter of what kind of impact they intend to leave.

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