Students for Sustainability joins statewide conservation effort

Madison Huntington, Staff Writer

On Sept. 17, Westmont students participated in California Coastal Cleanup Day, contributing to the effort made by nearly 30,000 volunteers statewide. Dedicated to making the state’s coastlines cleaner and healthier, the day resulted in the removal of about 125 tons of trash and recyclable materials from the coastal environment across the state. Students for Sustainability, led this semester by Grace Gantt, organized student involvement at a location treasured by the Westmont community for its beautiful sunsets and all-around stellar ambiance: Butterfly Beach.

At the heart of these efforts are people who care about stewarding the environment, a concern shared by increasing numbers of students. Gantt summarized why she believes sustainability is significant, noting, “Sustainability is not only important because of large-scale issues such as the climate crisis and environmental injustice, but also because I believe it is our fundamental responsibility to care for the earth and its people.” Sentiments along the lines of the above embody the mission driving Students for Sustainability, whose past events have included a discussion on the intersection of biology and theology as well as a sustainable habits workshop. 

Gantt also pointed out how students are not the only people at Westmont interested in sustainability, sharing,  “Many faculty and staff members, namely Dr. Sparkman and Dr. Robins, have invested a great deal of time and effort into sustainable action on campus. Their continual work in the form of grant and environmental major proposals should not go unnoticed. They both truly care about and work towards enabling students to succeed in their environmental passions.”

In addition to recognizing the efforts of faculty members, Gantt also identified how Westmont as an institution faces beneficial opportunities with regard to investment in sustainability, “Sustainable investment is proven to have long-term returns. To name a few examples, Westmont’s potential to invest in sustainability through awareness, solar panels or establishing an environmental major could all have immense benefits for the college.”

For those looking to become involved in sustainability at Westmont, Gantt recommends following Students for Sustainability (@westmontsfs on Instagram). She also mentioned the work of other environmental organizations in the Santa Barbara community with “local, active chapters such as FridaysforFuture and 350.ORG” as well as “a great youth organization” called the Sunrise Movement run primarily through UCSB students.

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