In recent years, Georgetown University has taken great strides towards improved sustainability policies and practices: progress includes, but is not limited to, a substantial decrease in the University’s greenhouse gas emissions, the establishment of the Georgetown Environment Initiative, and the partial divestment of the University’s endowment from coal companies. Such progress is worthy of applause and praise. Despite such positive developments, student engagement with sustainability practices and studies remains niche. Going forward, it is the goal of this administration to identify relevant barriers to further progress regarding sustainability and student engagement, alongside community members, and advance towards tangible and effective solutions.
To address these barriers, this administration proposes a broadening of academic opportunities to engage with sustainability: such opportunities may include the creation of an Environmental Studies major and/or an expansion of the number of students eligible to have a Science, Technology, and International Affairs (STIA) minor. Additionally, this administration will work towards augmenting and supporting Georgetown Environmental Leaders (GEL) as a central hub of information for students, evaluating the prospect of dorm-based EcoReps, and collaborating with on-campus organizations to increase awareness of environmental issues and how such issues may be applicable to various subject areas and activities (e.g., New Student Orientation, full fossil-fuel divestment, hosting environmental speakers, on-campus food production, a ban on plastic water bottles, and an annual environmental service event). We plan to work closely with the Office of Sustainability to discuss ways to improve recycling systems that students use every day and green infrastructure of the spaces in which students live, work, and play. Lastly, GUSA intends to support small-scale sustainability projects with funding opportunities so that all students have the opportunity to implement their ideas, whether through existing organizations or as individuals.
This administration plans to implement these solutions with full dedication to engaging students and members of the campus community. This administration will begin by thoroughly assessing the feasibility of curriculum augmentation and development; this process will include dialogues with student groups, relevant faculty, and administrators/deans. When a successful path towards curricular advancements has been determined, this administration will not hesitate to commit time and energy to the pursuit of well-designed and timely implementation. Additionally, early and clear lines of communication will be established with student groups and GEL so that this administration can map out points at which it can augment programming, provide logistical support, or otherwise be of assistance to the student body. Lastly, beyond previously-mentioned goals, this administration will maintain a stance that is open to new developments as they arise; should the sustainability scene change, drastically or otherwise, on Georgetown’s campus, this administration will be prepared to reevaluate our objectives, begin new partnerships, and otherwise adapt so that, from its first day in office to its last, it can be successful.