Over the last year and half, learning more about the environment and the zero waste movement has become a passion of mine. Learning more about sustainability and what I can do for the environment in my own home, as a broke college student, has been something that has consumed much of my time spent in quarantine. This year, I recently discovered a recognized student organization (RSO) on our campus that focuses on sustainability. I was able to interview Kathryn Wirtanen, the president of the Environmental Sustainability Organization (ESO), and get some answers about who exactly they are, and what exactly they do!
Maddie: Why was ESO started?
Kathryn: ESO was started to help engage MSU students with discussions, volunteer opportunities, and events surrounding sustainability. Like many other student groups, COVID has affected our plans for ESO but we have biweekly meetings featuring topics surrounding the environment and what we can do to help. Besides discussions with ESO members, we also plan to have guest speakers from the community speak and we’ll participate in local clean-ups once the weather is warmer. The spring semester is especially exciting for ESO as we plan to celebrate Earth Day across campus.
M: What can members get out of your organization and expect if they are involved?
K: Those who are interested in joining ESO will be able to meet like-minded students and join in learning more about how we can make an impact on our campus, community, and environment. We are hoping to increase volunteer opportunities for our members, but it has been a challenge due to COVID.
M: What common interests unite your members/ what do they like to do?
K: Many of us are interested in how we can change our daily habits to support our mission of protecting the environment. We are also very interested in collaborating with groups, both on and off-campus, to help elevate our impact as a club.
M: Do you have any board members or officers?
K: We currently have 4 board members who have been active in ESO for a couple of semesters now. We currently have a President, Vice President, and two officers who do a variety of tasks for ESO.
M: How can someone join your group?
K: If anybody is interested in joining ESO they can simply attend our biweekly meetings and events. There are no deadlines to become involved in ESO and if they ever have questions pertaining to our organization, they can ask at [email protected]. There are no membership requirements!
M: When do you meet?
K: All meetings are biweekly on Wednesdays at 7pm on these dates: 2/24, 3/17, 3/31, 4/14, 4/22-Earth Day Event TBD
Zoom Link https://minnstate.zoom.us/j/92620555446
M: Do you have any big events or activities planned this year?
K: Our events this semester will depend on the weather and COVID, but we are looking forward to planning an event on Earth Day, tie-dyeing ESO t-shirts, and helping with local clean-ups. Hoping it looks more normal on-campus fall semester, we will continue with meetings covering a variety of topics, a plant potting party, and tours of local businesses involved in protecting our environment.
M: Finally, where can you be found on social media?
K: The accounts for our organization on social media are listed below:
Engage: Search “ESO”
I have attended the first two of ESO’s meetings this semester, and have already learned a lot! I highly encourage anyone interested to attend the next meeting and follow them on social media- you won’t regret it!