An update from Gwen, a sophomore double major in civil engineering and Spanish:

Gwen in LA in front of a monumental sculpture

Me in front of a cool sculpture on our way to the convention.

I’ve been so inspired and invigorated today! After pulling myself out of my cushy queen-size bed at 6 A.M. (9 A.M. in Dallas, so not so bad!), I met up with my 3 student colleagues and we headed out to our conference site 15 minutes away. From there on out it was a whirlwind of amazing discussions and collaboration with other schools and their sustainability perspectives.

I heard presentations from students who grew their own food, banned water bottles on their campuses, created bio-digesters for their schools, committed themselves to 20% sustainable food by 2020, and built greenhouses on their campuses. My favorite idea was a group that bought a smoothie-making stationary bicycle and sold smoothies in Mason jars to students in order to raise funds for their organization.

My two fellow Environmental Representatives, Jewel and Jingjing, were overflowing with ideas for our programs! We want to fix the sprinkler system, work more with our food provider, and raise awareness on campus. Jewel and I may even be dressing up as water-bottle monsters at Boulevards and running around telling people to recycle things….

Gwen's photo of a water-bottle-monster presentation inspiration

Water-bottle monster inspiration.

One of our best new ideas came from the non-E-rep of the group, Zach, who wants to start an energy/water-saving competition among the fraternities on campus. Speaking with other people who have actually made changes at their universities has proved to me how possible and necessary change is at ours.