Queens College’s Environmental Club is a student-run organization focusing on making the campus more eco-friendly and introducing the benefits of sustainability both on and off campus.
It was founded in 1998, said the QC website, and their main initiative is to spread awareness and make the world more livable, both for today and for future generations.
President Nicole Smith, Vice President Lisa Darrigo and Treasurer/Secretary Leah Goodman currently run the club. Their slogan is “Think Global Act Local.”
“We are a group of young students in a generation that needs to take action now. We have the ability to use our voice to make a difference and spread awareness about global and local environmental problems,” Darrigo, a junior majoring in environmental studies, said.
The clubroom is in the basement of the Student Union in room LL-19 where there are reusable glass bottles containing flowers placed all around the room. There is a basket for scrap paper, to promote reusing trash and reducing waste. There are maps and anti-hydrofracking signs that cover the walls and a large plant on the floor. Brochures are on the table for curious students to pick up and browse.
“We need to raise more awareness about what’s going on around us.” Goodman, a senior double majoring in environmental studies and linguistics, said. “The fact that there is a debate about climate change is a part of the problem. To me it’s a scientific fact, whether or not it exists shows that we need to be raising more awareness,”
The theme of this semester is endangered species. The club plans on going on a trip to the zoo to observe endangered species themselves. They also plan on having a movie screening of a documentary about endangered species sometime this semester.
“We are going to try to help monarch butterflies, bees and certain birds that are in trouble in our area, staying true to our slogan ‘Think Global Act Local.’ Many people think of endangered species as living in far away lands across oceans, but the problem is very real and very near,” said Darrigo.
The club will take part in Earth Week on campus and last year they hosted “Adopt a Plant,” where they handed out mini-biodegradable pots and soil to students. Students could pick out the seeds for the plant they wanted and were able to take it home to raise. They plan to do it again this year, but with seeds that grow plants for hummingbirds, monarch butterflies and bees in particular.
QC is considered a ‘Green College’ as of 2012 and are included in “The Princeton Review’s Guide to 322 Green Colleges,” said the QC’s website.
“QC is such a strategic place to represent the green community. We have gardens and animals on this campus, and not a lot of campuses in Manhattan or Brooklyn have this,” Darrigo said.
Darrigo and Goodman both agree that sustainability is important because of the limited amount of resources that are becoming scarce because of living standards. Goodman said communities should be sustainable now in order to make life better for future generations.
The club goes beyond typical socializing and recreation. Rather, its members are dedicated to a cause that will always affect the world.
“It’s one of the only clubs that goes beyond what major you are or what ethnicity you are. The Environmental Club is all encompassing, we put aside any differences we have to come together and make the world better and help each other out,” Goodman said.