Written by: Chantel Grant and Tiffany Smith
NSU’s Collaborative Team for Sustainability is an active group of students, faculty, professors and environmentalists who have decided to spread sustainability to and beyond NSU’s campus. The goal is to spread awareness and education on sustainability in order to facilitate a change in the way people interact with the environment, leading NSU and the community into an environmentally and socially sustainable future.
How did the NSU Collaborative Team start?
Guenola Nonet, visiting professor in the H. Wayne Huizenga College of Business and Entrepreneurship and one of the founders of NSU’s Collaborative Team for Sustainability, brought her enthusiasm for sustainability to NSU and found people with common interests.
“I have always been passionate about sustainability, so when I came to NSU to teach in the business school, I realized that many of the students shared my passion and wanted to do something with sustainability,” Nonet said.
Nonet said she realized that almost everyone she encountered at the Huizenga College and across campus wanted to do something to help the community be more sustainable, so the formation of the team came naturally.
“We have 46 members,” said Nonet. “At some point, I realized that we knew people from the different schools here, and all of these people were genuinely interested in helping the campus and Florida become more sustainable.”
Nonet said that one of the most important aspects of the team is that it finally coordinates ideas and projects to effectively tackle sustainability.
“All the willingness, all the interest for social, environmental sustainability is here in every college,” said Nonet. “This makes it easy to move forward with cross-collaboration across campus because the colleges, the employees and the students are interested in doing things on this matter.”
Why else is NSU’ s Collaborative Team important?
Bridget Guerrero, master’s in business administration student and former president of the Graduate Business Student Association, said that the collaborative team helps students get involved.
“Last year, there was this issue of fracking in the everglades, which would pollute our drinking water, so when I saw all of these issues arising, I really decided to get involved with the collaborative team and help prevent things like that from happening and most of all spread awareness,” she said.
Guerrero said that the collaborative team is unique because it creates synergies between NSU and the community that increase awareness.
According Guerrero, NSU’s Collaborative Team for Sustainability is reaching out both socially and environmentally, which separates the team from any other club at NSU.
“The school is already sustainable — we recycle,” said Guerro. “But the reason why NSU’s Collaborative Team for Sustainability is so important is because we are taking it from just awareness to actions. We’re going beyond the parameters of NSU because we want to touch the hearts of as many people as possible and get them on board with our sustainability efforts.”
According to Jill Horwitz, from Sustainable Stewards of Broward, NSU’s Collaborative Team for Sustainability has helped to connect students to the community. The Sustainable Stewards of Broward welcomes the partnership with the team because they get to attend meetings and show students how to collect data and implement ideas
“We saw a huge potential here when we heard they were starting a sustainability team,” said Horwitz. “We like to be supportive of that.”
Horwitz said involvement is just one example of how the team has spread beyond NSU and is making waves in the community by tackling sustainability with a new definition, that also includes social influencea
Bringing sustainability into the classrooms
Leela Mansukhani, senior environmental studies major and member of NSU’s Collaborative Team for Sustainability, said that she took a master’s level course called “Leading Creativity for Sustainability” with Nonet. After taking the class, Mansukahani said she realized that NSU lacks undergraduate courses about sustainability, so she decided to create a petition that would bring classes like Nonet’s to the undergraduate level.
“The curriculum here is outdated — it doesn’t reflect the interests of the students,” she said. “You can ask around and find out how many students are actually interested in sustainability because we see it everywhere. Companies and corporations are working to become more sustainable, so why don’t we have more classes on it?”
Mansukhani’s petition asks the president, vice president and head of academic affairs at NSU to bring together two critical aspects of modern society: environmental studies and business. Mansukhani said she hopes that this will finally gap the bridge between the two fields while spreading awareness.
Mansukhani’s petition has already amassed over 125 signatures.
“The goal is to have 200 signatures, and, hopefully, that will be enough to persuade president Hanbury to look into adding the new classes,” she said.
Albert Williams, associate professor in the H. Wayne Huizenga College of Business and Entrepreneurship and member of NSU’s Collaborative Team for Sustainability, said students should take initiative, but they also need the support of faculty and administration.
“I will always discuss sustainability within the finance and economic class because I think they are linked,” said Williams. “We should not destroy the earth for profitability alone. We need to make profit in a sustainable and responsible way.”
You, too, can make a difference
“Most persons think that they can’t make a difference, but they really can — all you need to do is get the conversation started,” said Craig Amos, science and technology specialist for the Alvin Sherman Library and member of NSU’s Collaborative Team for Sustainability.
Amos joined the team after presenting and providing research for the Huizenga College lecture series. According to Amos, joining the collaborative team has changed the way he interacts with the environment. He said he is here for students and believes that the team is the perfect avenue to branch out and lead NSU into a sustainable future.
“I now know to cut my grass at a 45 degree angle to prevent weeds from growing out,” he said. “I learn interesting things like that, and when you look back on them, they really can make a difference. Working in library makes me a resource for the team. I can talk to students and provide crucial information about sustainability.”
To sign Mansukhani’s petition, visit petitions.moveon.org. For further information on NSU’s Collaborative Team for Sustainability, contact Nonet at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo Credit: G. Nonet