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American University’s EcoSense

International_StudentsEco-Sense is American University’s premier organization dedicated to promoting environmental sustainability on campus, in the community, and in our students’ everyday lives through student awareness, volunteering, campus efficiency, eco-certification and political activism. We are committed to the fight against climate change by increasing awareness and understanding of the human impact on the environment, as well as conveying the idea that leading an environmentally sustainable life is in our best interest as human beings. All actions are aimed to incorporate social justice issues to create a healthy and environmentally sustainable future for all.

Our organization will achieve these objectives through campus events such as inviting speakers, showing documentaries, hosting and planning sustainable information sessions, and taking environmentally-themed off-campus trips, among others.  Eco-Sense will advocate for the fall enactment of the President’s Climate Commitment and will continue to certify offices as “green” with our “Green to Green: Responsible Purchases and Practices” campaign.  We will also act as a driving force for getting AU students off campus and involved in the greater movement by informing them of conferences, habitat clean-ups, rallies and protests, and other DC-wide events.

What We Do:

Over the past three years, Eco-Sense has seen a revival on campus, making it one of the most active and influential groups at American University. We have started an environmental revolution on AU’s campus with the passage of the Clean Energy Referendum in the spring of 2006, the enactment of many aspects of the 2007-2008 Bikes and Biodiesel campaign, and the ongoing eco-certification of campus offices through the “Green to Green: Responsible Purchases and Practices” campaign. We also persistently and successfully encouraged the administration to sign both the Talloires Declaration and the Presidents’ Climate Commitment.  Strong student support and involvement in club activities have demonstrated the student body’s devotion to environmental sustainability.  Over 100 students attended our first general meeting of the 2008-2009 school year.

Eco-Sense has worked closely with local and national groups dedicated to environmental sustainability.  By coordinating events, protests, and leadership trainings with Chesapeake Climate Action Network, Campus Climate Challenge, Energy Action Network, Step it Up! 2008, DC Woodlands, Power Shift 2007, and the DC Youth Environmental Alliance, Eco-Sense has been, and will continue to be, a major player in the national youth movement for a greener future.

This year, Eco-Sense will work to hold our leaders responsible for moving us into an era of clean energy and a lesser ecological footprint.  This campaign will take place on both a local and national level.  After President Kerwin’s signing of the President’s Climate Commitment in spring 2008, we will assist the university in writing a Climate Action Plan to ensure that this historic commitment is effectively addressed. On a national level, we took part in the Energy Action Network’s non-partisan Power Vote campaign.  Our Power Vote campaign garnered over 1000 individual student pledges to make environmental issues the leading priority during the 2008 election season. The week of February 27th-March 2nd, Eco-Sense had 85 members join thousands of young people at the capitol demanding solutions to climate change from the new Congress and the new President.

We will also be continuing our “Green to Green” campaign, after receiving an influx of requests during the summer from on-campus offices wanting to be eco-certified.  We are currently in communication with nine offices, with a total of about 200 staff members, that we will be training this fall. Additionally, Facilities Management has contacted Eco-Sense hoping for assistance in spreading awareness of the campus-wide recycling program that will be implemented in 2008-2009.

 

Drew Veysey is a junior at American University, treasurer of EcoSense, and a founding member of the D.C. Youth Environmental Alliance.

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