Commentary: Coast students stress sustainability

It has often been said that the grass is always greener on the other side.

But the student leaders in the Coast Community College District argue that the grass can be greener on our side if we move toward sustainable practices.

On Oct. 25, Coast's District Student Council voted unanimously to create a sustainability committee.

This council is comprised of student leaders from the district's three campuses: Coastline Community College, Golden West College and Orange Coast College.

This year the students have taken a particular interest in matters pertaining to the environment and sustainable practices. As an overall theme to the academic year, the council has begun an environmental crusade to serve as a foundation for many of its goals and future projects.

As the chair to the District Student Council, student Trustee Tanner Kelly, said in an email, "What is happening here is something more than a committee or an event — I think this is a movement."

After the sustainability committee had been created, Jules Luna, the sustainability commissioner from Golden West, was nominated and unanimously accepted as the co-chair along with Connor Chilcott, another student from Golden West.

Luna said in an email, "I accepted my nomination as chair because I believe in sustainability. [It] is life based on the realization that all things are interconnected, that all life has integrity and exists in collaboration with the natural systems of the Earth."

Later in the meeting, the students discussed goals for this committee in particular. Among them are a procurement policy, innovative recycling efforts and a districtwide event that would take place on all three campuses.

Kelly said in an email, "I am extremely proud of the initiative, passion and futuristic thinking that our students have demonstrated. I think we, as students, have made it clear that we are ready to accept, embrace and usher in an era of positive change that will make our colleges, community and society more efficient and environmentally conscious for years to come."

While the sustainability committee was merely an idea to Luna after attending a sustainability conference at UC Santa Barbara this past summer, this vision has become a reality.

"I regard the formation of this committee to be a triumph, and I believe future generations of students will find it much easier to innovate and implement sustainable initiatives because of it."

By taking small steps toward sustainability, the Coast students have demonstrated the need for a more environmentally conscious world.

RACHEL GAJARDO is student body president at Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa.

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