October 26, 2006

C.U. Celebrates First Campus Sustainability Day

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In an ironic twist, yesterday’s inclement weather chased a showcase of eco-friendly student organizations off of Ho Plaza and into Willard Straight for Cornell’s first ever celebration of Campus Sustainability Day. The event kicked off Focus the Nation Week with the purpose of “educating and inspiring action on a critical issue facing out generation,” says Ding Kong ’08, president of the Sustainability Hub.

A wide variety of student and university organizations were present, including the Sustainability Enterprise Association, Kyoto Now and Starbucks.

Cornell Dining had a large display showcasing their “buy local” initiative, and their new composting and cage-free egg programs at Trillium. Douglas Lockwood, general manager of Cornell Dining, and a member of the Campus Life Green Team, appreciated the chance to highlight the efforts the University has taken.

“I don’t think we get the word out as well as we should,” said Lockwood. “20,000 meals a day during the school year — it’s difficult.”

Besides the showcase of organizations, the first day of Focus the Nation week also included a presentation of The Lorax by the Eco-Players and a presentation by Prof. Scott Sherman, public of affairs, University of California, Los Angeles. During the lively session, Sherman discussed his research into environmental injustice and racism.

“The Green Movement is largely a white movement,” Sherman said. “Who’s most
hurt by environmental problems? Poor people and people of color.”

After analyzing 65 cases where action was taken against perceived injustice, Sherman concluded that traditional channels such as lobbying or the courts were ineffective. Instead, success was most common with what he called transformative action, which includes three parts: exposing injustice, transforming enemies into allies and creating a better vision for the future.

Sherman is also scheduled to speak today at 5:15 p.m. in Statler 165 as Focus the Nation week continues.