Get on board, and ride the sustainability wave with the NSU Green Sharks.
April is Earth Month, so that means tons of speeches and events about climate change and separating plastic from paper.
While some college students roll their eyes at the usual “We love the world, so recycle” speeches, the Green Sharks are redefining what sustainability means and making plans to change NSU into a sustainable school.
Cassilly Lobaugh, junior environmental studies major and president of the Green Sharks, said that the mission statement of the club is “To advocate and promote sustainable initiatives on campus, as well as to educate students and faculty on the meaning of sustainability.”
Here’s how the NSU Green Sharks are making an impact in the NSU community.
Green Sharks are in tune with NSU students
The Green Sharks did a survey that showed over 60 percent of NSU students wanted courses on sustainability.
The Green Sharks want to ensure they hear what NSU students have to say about sustainability. More surveys revealed that NSU students actually want to see the school become sustainable and they are willing to help make this goal a reality.
“The Green Sharks survey also showed that 70 percent of the students at NSU want to do more for sustainability,” said Guenola Nonet, visiting professor in the H. Wayne Huizenga College of Business and Entrepreneurship and faculty advisor for the Green Sharks.
According to Nonet, the Green Sharks did a survey on orientation day at the H. Wayne Huizenga College of Business and Entrepreneurship that showed 88 percent of the graduate students care about sustainability and said it was relevant to their education and work.
Nonet said teaching at the business school allows her to positively impact her students by educating them on sustainability, especially those students who want to be entrepreneurs.
“I can teach them to create business that align with sustainability by looking at the products that they will use and how they should treat people,” she said. “We have everything here at NSU, from research to early childhood education, so I love working here because we can actually come up with great solutions.”
Green Sharks are aiming for AASHE STARS
AASHE is the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education, and STARS stands for the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System. AASHE STARS certify schools based on what they have done to become more sustainable, and the Green Sharks have their eyes set on gaining recognition from the program.
“AASHE STARS rate schools from bronze to platinum, and it takes time and effort to organize the data about how the colleges are doing on their path to become a sustainable,” said Nonet. “It’s basically reporting your school’s sustainable efforts, and so it would take more than the Green Sharks to work on that ― I think it would take the involvement of the entire campus.”
The Green Sharks are encouraging students and faculty to jump on board with the process. At the end of the day, if NSU becomes certified by AASHE, it would benefit everyone in the NSU community and add to Florida’s sustainability efforts by curbing the communities’ effect on climate change and hopefully slowing down the climate change process.
The Green Sharks are going beyond NSU campus
Nonet said she created a team called the NSU Collaborative Team for Sustainability, which consists of a total of 44 faculty, students and Broward county representatives from nine NSU colleges, the Alvin Sherman Library and the Oceanography Library.
“The group approaches sustainability in a broad sense because we target the social aspects of sustainability, as well,” she said. “The collaborative team also aligns with President Hanbury’s vision, which is for our colleges to collaborate across campus and to serve the community.”
Nonet said the Green Sharks promote sustainability all year, but when Earth Month comes around, clubs like Green Sharks get special recognition.
“Earth Month helps the club to feel connected with the international community, and we also gain visibility,” she said. “Earth Day is on April 22, and the Green Sharks are going to be at the library with different representatives from local government, NGO’s and businesses to show what the meaning of sustainability is and educate students.”
We aren’t just “tree huggers”
A common misconception about clubs like Green Sharks is they only appeal to science majors. But, according to Lobaugh, the club attracts students from a variety of different majors.
“The Green Sharks isn’t only for science majors,” she said. “We have legal studies, English and prelaw majors, as well.”
Students from different majors are attracted to the club because sustainability affects everyone. For Lobaugh, this encourages Green Sharks to continue promoting and advocating for sustainability at NSU.
“Science students aren’t the only ones who climate change will affect; it’s a reality for everyone, and so we need to change the way we live,” she said.
Lobaugh said Green Sharks is different from other environmental clubs at NSU.
“We aren’t tree huggers,” she said. “We simply want to promote a lifestyle that does not endanger earth. For us, it’s more about making changes. You don’t have to go out of your way to live sustainably.”
The Green Sharks are taking on sustainability and paving the way for NSU to proudly brag about being a sustainable school. The organization meets on Thursdays from noon to 1 p.m. in the Carl DeSantis Building, room 2071.
For more information on the Earth Day event or the NSU Green Sharks, contact Lobaugh at email@example.com or Nonet at firstname.lastname@example.org