Due to their overarching, multigenerational nature, 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 and encouragement to expand the ongoing sustainability efforts to include their own work and 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 to advance our common goals.
Aiming to facilitate a successful and meaningful collaboration amongst all UW students we, the Sustainability Curriculum Coalition, will host a Student Sustainability Forum. This event will be designed to unite and empower the diverse University community by creating a space for students from across campus to partake in discussion and deliberation surrounding issues they would wish to see addressed in the upcoming UW 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 far-reaching goals and demands, which will be recommended for integration into the upcoming UW Sustainability Plan.