Sustainability is an ever-growing topic happening right now. The world is in the midst of the effects climate change from weather changes, animals being put on the extinction list, melting ice caps and so much more. Avoiding the topic is almost impossible unless you choose to not go outside and turn off any form of media.
The topic is more prominent on college campuses. Students advocating for sustainability at their schools and asking administrations what steps are they taking to reduce their carbon footprint.
George Mason student Elizabeth Gilette feels the same way: “When it comes to sustainability on campus, it’s important for administration to take the lead. The university adopting sustainable policies, such as banning plastic straws and bags, takes the burden off of individual students, especially those who live on campus and often only have access to the options provided to them here.”
George Mason prides itself on its encouragement for students to create their own organizations keeping true to its mission of entrepreneurship. Any student with a mission and an idea can add to the Mason community through a student organization.
Alpha Kappa Chi is an example of the true spirit of entrepreneurship at George Mason University.
The environmental-interest fraternity was founded in the fall of 2016 at George Mason. The fraternity’s mission statement states: “Alpha Kappa Chi is a co-educational organization that promotes professional development, community activism, and brotherhood of member individuals in preparation for, and commitment to, environmentally-conscious lifestyles.”
President Sara Babcock is able to uphold these standards.
As President, she is able to oversee the organization as a whole. Babcok works on a day to day operations as well as the overall reputation of the fraternity at Mason.
AKX is able to make a greener impact on Mason’s campus by creating a space of awareness about the impact of climate change and what they can do to feel a part of the solution. “I am incredibly grateful for, so it’s easy to collaborate with other green organizations and make a difference, however small it may seem, at our university. Our university is a microcosm of the real world so it’s beneficial to use our campus as sort of a beta tester.” Babcock explains.
Via MasonAKX on Instagram
Brothers of AKX are able to learn about sustainability and professionalism through building and bringing awareness to campus. As well as activities and events like “Trash pickups, stream clean-ups, tree plantings, stream restoration, documentary screenings, resume workshops.”
The brothers of AKX are required to complete five service hours “many choose to offer their service to Mason through volunteering in the greenhouse and gardens, picking up trash all over campus, helping build aquaponics, and anything else that needs to be done.” Babcock explains.
The lesson is that starting small can lead to a larger impact on climate change. One person’s actions can make a difference.
Babcock agrees that Mason has been taking some forward steps for a sustainable environment. “Mason dining does a lot of different initiatives on campus: Farmer’s Markets, vegan/vegetarian dining options, strawless, and bagless. Mason housing is less receptive of changes but they still have some initiatives: energy-efficient appliances, motion-sensor lighting, and sustainable housing gifts.” However, there is still room for improvement. “Our biggest problems with sustainability come at the administrative level. We have a problem with increasing carbon emissions, per individual person carbon emission is decreasing but our overall population is increasing heavily so it doesn’t matter. We have an agreement to go carbon neutral by 2050, but we aren’t making any progress towards our goal.” she states.
Even though the fraternity is relatively new. The future of AKX is bright, and Babcock is excited for it. “I’d really like AKX to integrate with the Mason community that doesn’t necessarily think about sustainability and environmental protection in their daily lives. Although everyone exists on this planet, in this environment, most don’t realize how dependent they are on ecosystem services and how treated those services are by the consequences of our own actions.”
Having passionate members who want to better the environment and hopefully influence the administration “Adding more passionate members who continue to further their knowledge on the issue and then bring that knowledge with them in their own lives creates a web of dispersal of information.”
Via DailydoseofSara on Instagram
Babcock plans to law school after graduation and save the planet.
Check out Alpha Kappa Chi on Mason360 and their Instagram: @AlphaKappaChi