In honor of the 50th anniversary of Earth Day on April 22, Wesleyan’s Sustainability Office led a virtual WesFest session to introduce Class of 2024 admitted students and their families to the office.
Several Eco Facilitators and Sustainability Interns from the Wesleyan Sustainability Office, and members of the Wesleyan Green Fund and other environmental sustainability groups on campus shared information on the sustainability scene at Wesleyan. There are currently a total of 16 Eco Facilitators, two Eco Facilitator coordinators, five compost interns, three sustainability coordinators and one Sustainable Middletown intern.
Sustainability Director Jen Kleindienst explained the office’s three main purposes: to reduce Wesleyan’s environmental footprint; to ensure students are exposed to information on sustainability and environmental justice in their courses; and to focus on the office’s intern program to build more of a culture of sustainability on campus.
“We’re trying to bring sustainability to more people [and] make it more accessible, . . . bring in intersectional issues as much as possible, and we’re always looking to evolve,” Kleindienst said. “We’re excited to have you here today to talk about what we do and get you excited about coming to Wesleyan!”
During a virtual discussion on Wesleyan’s Sustainability Office, Eco Facilitator Salma Hassan ’22 shared her efforts on encouraging students to return their eco-to-go food containers; collaborating with the Wesleyan Resource Center on including intersectionality in environmentalism; and expanding the topic of environmental justice into more Wesleyan classes. Hassan, a psychology, French studies, and feminist, gender, and sexuality studies triple major, worked with fellow Eco Facilitator Chloe Johnson ’22 to start eco-to-go collection hours in first-year student residence complexes where students could drop off the containers on site rather than returning them to the dining halls. The effort worked, and Wesleyan’s Dining Services reported an uptick in the amount of containers returned.
Sustainable Middletown Intern Catherine Xi ’21 spoke about the Wesleyan Green Fund and her efforts working with the recycling coordinator and energy coordinator for the City of Middletown. She also mentioned the WILD Wes permaculture site on campus, Wesleyan’s Sustainability Action Plan, and students’ clean energy projects.
Sustainability Coordinator Marlen Escobedo ’21 spoke about Waste Not, an annual, student-run tag sale that fosters equitable sustainability by reducing campus waste and giving back to the community. Students donate their gently-used items to the cause, and the items are sold during the annual sale. All profits go to a local charity and to support the Waste Not effort.
Next fall, Sustainability Coordinator Simi Dalyop ’22 said she’s looking forward to working with students living in program houses and discussing issues that surround sustainable living. She also looks forward to welcoming new interns to the Sustainability Office and working with them on making Wesleyan a more sustainable community.
Compost Intern Fiona Skerrett ’21 explained how she’s designing a guide that illustrates how students can compost in their home states.
Compost Intern Belle Brown ’21 and Eco Facilitator and Eco Facilitator Coordinator Shirmai Chung ‘22 also spoke during the session.
The Sustainability Office also suggested the following resources: