2013 Eco Rep Symposium Recap
Passionate student presentations, meaningful group discussions, and valuable peer-to-peer connections were just a few of the highlights of the 2013 Eco Rep Symposium at BU on Saturday, November 9th. The event, co-hosted by sustainability@BU and GreenerU, had a great turnout of nearly 150 participants from colleges across the Northeast. sustainability@BU interns Tori Dearborn and Lindsey Chew collaborated with BU student volunteers to make the event almost completely student-driven. The event emphasized the environmentally minded efforts of Catering on the Charles and Dining Services through the locally sourced and wholesome food provided throughout the day. This mentality extended beyond mealtime as participants successfully diverted 99.2 percent of the waste generated at the event.
The Symposium kicked off with a lunch and meet-and-greet as students arrived on bikes, buses, trains, Zipcars, and by foot. As students registered, they were encouraged to participate in two competitions for prizes during the event – one rewarding schools that travelled to and from BU using sustainable transportation, and the other emphasizing the importance of waste diversion by giving a prize to the students who guessed the correct percent of event waste diverted from the landfill. Later, as students ate lunch and met each other, they were prompted to illustrate their passion for sustainability with crayons and markers on the brown paper covered tables.
After lunch, guests migrated to CAS where BU student Laura Kakalecz, CSC’s Branch Out helped kick off the first round of student presentations. From discussions of their own schools’ Eco Rep programs to a riveting round of “Are You Smarter than Ronald Reagan?,” students covered a wide variety of Eco Rep topics. The presentations were divided into three tracks which emphasized engaging students and communities, developing and maintaining programs, and creating effective means of communication. Between presentations, students reconvened as a large group for a brief session of Failure in Five, an activity that asked schools to share an aspect of their programs that failed, and share what they learned from their failure—in a short 5 minutes each. Following this was a time for students to openly discuss the issues they are most passionate about in a series of roundtable discussions. Conversations ranged from the management of food waste to environmental justice and offered guests the opportunity to share their more personal opinions and learn from each other.
After another round of student presentations, the event was wrapped up with dinner and closing. During closing, guests were asked to reflect on the most impactful part of the day. The wide variety of responses highlighted the range of lessons and ideas gained throughout the Symposium that students plan to bring back to their own college campuses and use to improve their Eco Rep programs.
The inspiring discourse and ideas from the event will help kickstart the BU Eco Rhett program, re-launching this year. If you’re interested in learning more about becoming an Eco Rhett, contact us at email@example.com.