Sustainability Day reflects CMC student, community involvement

“Green Team” students teach what they are learning

CMC student Shoshanah Ferguson

CMC student Shoshanah Ferguson was among those presenting information on energy- and resource-conserving practices at Sustainability Day.

Shoshanah Ferguson was stationed in a corner of the Coronado Café at Colorado Mountain College’s campus in Leadville, but it wasn’t to have lunch. The CMC sustainability studies student was one of about a half-dozen students and community members presenting information at the campus on Sustainability Day Oct. 23, sharing ideas and practical information about energy- and resource-conserving practices.

The environmental event is part of a national effort. Since 2003, Campus Sustainability Day is held yearly at colleges and universities across the country on the fourth Wednesday of October. In Leadville, the focus was primarily on energy conservation, local food production and waste management. This is the third year that the local CMC campus has taken part in the national effort.

“Green Team” members, most of whom are students, coordinated efforts with faculty to organize the day. Both CMC-Leadville science faculty member Miskwa Yellowknife, Ph.D., and Cameron Millard, a sustainability studies adjunct faculty member, pointed to student effort for seeing the project through.

“The focus is on the work of the students,” said Yellowknife.

Following this year’s theme of “Climate Adaptation: Resilient Campuses and Communities,” participants set up tables with brochures, books, energy-efficient products and interactive materials.

For Ferguson, sustainability means teaching others – particularly those younger than she – about conserving resources and reducing waste. She takes part in a program that goes into Leadville’s schools to expose kids to energy conservation practices, from turning off lights to recycling.

“Most kids don’t recycle,” she said, so she’s helped to instigate an after-school recycling program that involves elementary students with CMC’s Green Team.

“We want them to learn sustainable behavior for the rest of their lives,” Ferguson said.

CMC student Bobby Foster was also part of Sustainability Day. A recent trip to Haiti following the 2010 earthquake there inspired him to learn about building cistern systems that capture rainwater.

And Deb Diemer, a community member and organic gardener, brought fresh produce such as radishes, mustard and kale for students to sample. Local artist Colin McFee wrapped up the day with a talk and exhibition titled “Remember Ducks?” regarding dwindling resources and misguided social priorities.

During the event, a large board on an easel asked the question, “What does sustainability at CMC look like to you?” Students added responses such as, “A non-motorized community” and “recycling.”

And on Oct. 23, sustainability also looked like interested students participating in Sustainability Day at Colorado Mountain College.

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