Student Sustainability Forum
Project Size: Small, <$1,000
Estimated Amount to be requested from the CSF: $600
Summary of project proposal:
As all-encompassing threats, the ongoing climate, environmental, and consequential social crises must inform decisions made in every field and profession. Although the current and impending destabilization resulting from these crises call for unified action, the global response has been disappointing at best. Even in a university famed for innovation and progress our actions have been inexcusably meager. The abundance and variety of RSOs focused on social and environmental sustainability at the UW demonstrate a significant interest within the campus community to be active and engaged in the efforts to address our climate crisis on the local, national, and even international level. Unfortunately, these efforts are fragmented across various departments and disciplines which has stunted meaningful action.
Furthermore, groups which are not dedicated specifically to these fields risk being unaware of the important work being done in sustainability on campus. An even larger concern is that these groups lack the resources & encouragement to expand the ongoing sustainability efforts to include their own work & projects. Due to these circumstances, opportunities for collaboration are hindered due to lack of communication, awareness, and empowerment. Finally, although the administration has provided support for sustainability efforts through organizations such as the Office of Sustainability or the Campus Sustainability Fund, it has not yet taken action on the scale that it needs to.
The Administration's current aim to release a draft of a comprehensive Sustainability Plan on Earth Day 2020 has provided a critical opportunity to push the University’s commitment to sustainable practices farther than ever before. However, as matters currently stand, student voices are diluted, and the committee’s outreach efforts are insufficient. In order to effectively engage with the administration at this critical time it is apparent that students must unify in order to advance our common goals.
In order to facilitate a successful and meaningful collaboration amongst all UW students we (the Sustainability Curriculum Coalition) will host a Student Sustainability Forum; an event designed to unite and empower the diverse University community by creating a space for students from across campus to partake in discussion and deliberation to create a list of demands & actions they wish to see in UW’s upcoming Sustainability Plan.
This forum will promote actions already being led by student groups on campus as well as facilitate discussion over further actions which could be pursued. The format of the discussion groups which the forum will be broken into is designed with the goal of formulating a cohesive set of demands which will be recommended for integration into the upcoming UW Sustainability Plan.
Briefly explanation of how the project will meet the requirements and preferences of the CSF:
1) Environmental Impact
This event is explicitly concerned with the future of the University's sustainability and environmental policies. The topics of the forum will cover a range of actions which the university could undertake. As attendees enter the forum, they will have the opportunity to talk with groups tabling for projects which are already in progress. For example, the Sustainability Curriculum Coalition (SCC) will present on how we have been advocating for changes to the structure of the general curriculum which could provide all students with a more comprehensive understanding of topics in sustainability and how to implement these in their future careers.
After this period everyone will split into groups based on the main themes outlined in the sustainability plan and discuss which action should be the university's top priority. The intent of this structure is to both provide exposure to sustainability projects already in progress and seed discussion for new ideas to emerge at the forum. From these discussions we aim to distill a set of actions that students from a variety of backgrounds can endorse. These are not just ideas but actions which the university must undertake in order to truly embody the ideals of sustainability it extolls. By presenting these as a set of collectively backed demands we foresee that the event could affect real change onto the policies which the administration chooses to pursue in the sustainability plan to be released this Spring. The Forum will create a channel for students to advocate directly to the administration for changes which will positively impact our environment.
2) Student Leadership & Involvement
This is a 100% student led initiative. The entire project has been envisioned and designed by the members of the Sustainability Credit Coalition. The leads are the group’s officers, Anya Gavrylko, Emma Wilson, and Xavaar Quaranto. The team is composed of additional members of the Sustainability Curriculum Coalition along with service learners from Eco Reps and support from other groups that were in attendance at our Green Husky Coalition.
At its heart the Sustainability RSO Forum is a project designed for and by students to amplify our voices and empower the student body to advocate for our future. Not only will this event be organized by various student stakeholders on campus, it is being put on by students, for students. It is meant to provide an opportunity for students with various talents and passions to be joined under one roof, offering different perspectives on sustainability.
3) Education, Outreach, & Behavior Change
This event will be primarily educational, meant to inform everyone in attendance about the UW Sustainability Plan while also bringing new perspectives to the conversation via the various students we will have represented in the space. We are creating this platform to encourage students to support each other, so that we can work together to learn about student vision for the future of sustainability at UW.
The RSO Forum is fundamentally an event about connecting as many groups as possible to promote collaboration and ultimately enact change on the operation of the university as a whole. While there are already groups dedicated to promoting sustainability and protecting the environment these ideals are ultimately the responsibility of all. Therefore, at the heart of this project is the belief that we must include representatives from across the campus community to ensure the actions we propose are equitable and well informed.
Seeing as this event depends on a diverse group of students being in attendance, our outreach strategies must match this goal. We have several ideas regarding what our outreach strategy should look like. We need to meet with folks that work in the Ethnic Cultural Center to see if they will get the word out among students they serve about the forum. We need to reach out to all ASUW commissions and offices about what the event is and why they should send a representative. We need to put as many posters in as many different buildings on campus as we can afford to and come up with a strategy for equitably completing this task. We need to work with Disabilities Services Office to ensure that our event is accessible to any student who might want to come. Finally, we must constantly be open to new ideas regarding our outreach strategy and be consistently asking ourselves how we can reach more students.
In bringing together the university community in a single space to focus on these issues the ultimate goal of this event is to enact behavior change on an institutional level. Our aim is to outline a student written agenda of actions we want the University to undertake. We foresee that individual ideas or actions proposed in our agenda will in turn have cascading effects on the University as a whole, if implemented into the UW Sustainability Plan. For example, implementing the SCC’s proposal to integrate sustainability across the curriculum could have far reaching impacts on the way graduates understand topics in sustainability and interact with them in their lives and careers. By bringing the force of the combined students body’s attention to address these pressing issues this event could be the catalyst to create an equitable path forward for the University of Washington Community to truly be able to say, “sustainability is in our nature”.
4) Feasibility, Accountability, & Sustainability
In preparation for the RSO Forum leads Anya Gavrylko, Emma Wilson, and Xavaar Quaranto have worked together since last spring to coordinate several smaller events to develop planning and preparation skills. These include a presentation on institutional Sustainability across the Curriculum featuring a faculty member from the University of Vermont and a meeting of the Green Husky Coalition, an umbrella group where different groups interested in sustainability can meet and collaborate. Building from our experience with these events we are ready to scale up to a larger venue and a wider audience. We also hope to work with a larger group of very qualified people to make this event successful.
We have already implemented strategies for keeping each other accountable within the Sustainability Curriculum Coalition, and we plan on maintaining these strategies throughout the planning process. We assign and complete tasks using a spreadsheet, we have weekly check-in meetings to ensure we are not taking on too much, and we set goals with each other for when tasks will be completed. We were able to successfully put on two events this quarter while maintaining tabling engagements and regularly scheduled meetings.
By encouraging attendees to write down their ideas as they discuss and identifying their most important ideas, we will gather an informal survey of the topics which our audience feels is most critical. After the Forum concludes we will condense these into a Student Sustainability agenda which we will send back to attendees for revision and approval. Students will be able to sign this as a show of support so it can ultimately be presented to the university for inclusion into the UW Sustainability Plan.
This is the first of several follow ups to make sure the ideas we gather retain their momentum. We also want to maintain quarterly meetings open to all students who want to continue to collaborate on all things regarding UW sustainability. The SCC has plans to shift into being a group focusing most of our efforts on creating a united effort with various student groups to improve environmental and social sustainability on campus.
Estimated Project Budget
Because this event is primarily designed to generate discussion and ideas the material costs are limited to promotional material, supplies such as whiteboards to facilitate conversation, and overhead such as the building fee.
· Intellectual House ($144 per 4 hours, already booked)
· Printing Marketing Materials (≈ $230)
· Approximation for signs, large posters, sandwich boards, flyers, etc.
· Native Plants Seedlings & Planting Materials ($50)
· Seed mix ($30): https://www.bulkwildflowers.com/pnw-wildflower-seed-mix.html?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIheyFgJSi5gIVD_5kCh0z5gRQEAQYAyABEgLnwPD_BwE
· Seed bomb base ($20 for 200 seed bombs): https://www.amazon.com/Our-Finest-Seed-Bomb-Matrix/dp/B00H138SAI/ref=pd_sbs_86_1/134-0731872-8983307?_encoding=UTF8&pd_rd_i=B00H138SAI&pd_rd_r=4f130007-f02c-4333-9b49-52ec63b11359&pd_rd_w=vaEY2&pd_rd_wg=d3SZR&pf_rd_p=5873ae95-9063-4a23-9b7e-eafa738c2269&pf_rd_r=W6QF2EJGNFXAJ523JS9R&psc=1&refRID=W6QF2EJGNFXAJ523JS9R
· Small brown paper bags to take home seed bombs for 200 people ($15)
· Student photographer ($90)
· Large Rip off Post-Its
· $40 for two pack, but perhaps we can get them from somewhere on campus: https://www.amazon.com/Post-Sticky-Premium-Sticking-559/dp/B00006IA9F
· Name tags x 200 ($10)
· $6 for a pack of large sharpies, but perhaps we can obtain from somewhere else on campus: https://www.amazon.com/Sharpie-Permanent-Markers-Chisel-Classic/dp/B00006IFIA/ref=sr_1_3?keywords=large+sharpies&qid=1575674823&s=office-products&smid=ATVPDKIKX0DER&sr=1-3
· Poster ($12)
Weekly: SCC Meetings to share updates and evaluate goals (once a week for one hour)
· Early December
o Organize groups for graphic and initial idea designs
§ (Canva Projects (to be done over Winter Break)
o Research Catering options for event
· December 5
· December 10
o Decide/Reserve Venue
o Begin outreach to potential professional facilitators and those working on the Sustainability Plan
· December 15
o Finalize supplies needed for event
§ Rent out projector
§ Sound equipment if needed
§ Large whiteboard
§ Native Plant Seeds
· Mid December
o Finalize promotional details
o Increase access for info
§ Facebook outreach
§ Draft emails to guest list
§ Contact Staff/Faculty on campus
§ Photographer from the Daily
§ Contact Burke museum email list
§ Point of contact with other schools
· Late December
o Create RSVP
o Publish Facebook page
· January 6-10
o Outreach to RSOs on campus and invitations
o Meetings with as many groups as possible
§ ASUW Offices
o Begin Formal Outreach (Beginning of January)
§ Emails to guest list
§ Send out physical invitations perhaps
§ Put up posters
· Early January
o Finalize any additional volunteers
· January 27th
o Day of the actual event from 6-8 PM!