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Growing Awareness

Sustainability interns promote benefits of ‘going green’

A group of student-interns have joined the global sustainability movement and are doing their part to educate the campus community.

“I think there is a great desire to have Bridgewater State University be a green campus and sustainable, but people don’t know what we are doing to achieve this,” said sustainability intern Elizabeth Whalen, ’22, a biology major. “The biggest part is making people aware of what’s going on.”

Elizabeth is part of a team of interns tasked with educating others and promoting the BSU Sustainability Program, the sustainability and innovation minor, and BSU’s Environmental Action Team (E.A.T.).

The interns recently shared why they wanted to take up the cause.

“I don’t think people even realize we have an environmental action team here on campus,” said intern MacKenzie Vianna ’25, who is majoring in environmental geology.

Elizabeth looks to change this as the sustainability program’s social media manager. Through various online channels, she pushes out information about the program, the minor, and E.A.T.

“Our social media presence has been huge in helping us get the word out,” Elizabeth said. “Seeing students react and engage has been encouraging.”

Grace Dooner, ’22, signed on to be an intern because her goal is to pursue a career in sustainability, which is why on top her art major she is also pursuing the sustainability and innovation minor. She’s been introduced to many different classes that promote sustainability practices, making it easier for her to perform her marketing duties as an intern.

“I think it’s important for students to know they can still take classes within the minor to learn about ways to live more sustainably,” she said.

Grace also works with her fellow interns to create events and opportunities to encourage the Bridgewater community to think more about sustainability.

One example is the permaculture garden, which MacKenzie is involved with. The garden is located near the Miles and DiNardo residence halls. Produce grown in the garden supports the BSU Food Pantry.

“The garden shows a way to be self-sustainable, and what it feels like to grow your own food,” MacKenzie said. “It helps create a symbiotic relationship. We take care of the earth, and the earth will take care of us.”

Xiangrong Liu, associate professor and sustainability program co-coordinator also works with student-intern Jenalyn Warcup to observe the day-to-day operations of a local farm to better understand climate change from a farmer’s perspective.

The interns’ efforts are designed to show BSU students that practicing sustainability isn’t overwhelming.

“It doesn’t have to be scary,” MacKenzie said. “You don’t need to live off the grid. Little actions in your life can make you more sustainable,”.

Grace hopes that by better educating students, action can and will happen.

“Everyone needs to get in the mindset that we have to deal with the impacts of climate change,” she said.

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