Sustainability Committee Collaborates for Sustainability Week


Courtesy of Margaret Tattersfield

Fordham Flea is usually one of the biggest events at the university for Earth Week. With classes moving online, sustainability groups had to make alterations.

The members of the United Student Government’s (USG) Sustainability Committee put on its annual sustainability week last week. The committee, in collaboration with Students for Environmental Awareness and Justice (SEAJ) and St. Rose’s Garden, planned six events throughout the week.

On Monday, they had a sustainable product sale and sold silicone straws, bamboo toothbrushes, Fordham stickers and coloring books in McGinley lobby. On Tuesday, they hosted a community cleanup. Vice President of Sustainability Margaret Tattersfield, FCRH ’22, said they filled up approximately nine trash bags with litter.

Tattersfield said the Fordham Flea held on Wednesday afternoon was the largest of the semester. All of the proceeds from the sustainable product sale and Fordham Flea will go to the Bronx is Blooming, she said.

“I really like Fordham Flea because it encourages students to participate in more sustainable shopping practices,” said Rebecca Lees, FCRH ’21. “On a college budget, it’s really easy to just fall into buying from fast fashion brands, but Fordham Flea provides a really cool opportunity for students to have fun shopping without spending a ton of money or supporting businesses that may not have the most ethical practices.”

That night, the committe also screened the 2009 documentary “Tapped” in Rodrigue’s Coffee House. “Tapped” examines the plastic water bottle industry and how it affects human health and the environment.

Representatives from Extinction Rebellion, Bronx is Blooming and Sunrise Movement came to Fordham on Thursday for a panel in McGinley. Tattersfield said the panel talked about their organizations and sustainable lifestyles. Friday’s event was a potluck held in conjunction with St. Rose’s Garden.

The sustainability committee made a few changes to this year’s week of events, including an expanded sustainable product sale and Fordham Flea events.

“I think we made a lot of improvements to Sustainability Week,” said Tattersfield. “This comes from the fact that it was about a month later than normal, and it allowed us more time to plan. I hope Earth Week next semester and Sustainability Week next year are even more successful.”

The collaboration with SEAJ and St. Rose’s Garden also helped the committee come up with new events. Tattersfield said St. Rose’s Garden partnered with them for the potluck and SEAJ partnered with the committee for the community clean-up.

“Sustainability Committee and SEAJ both have the goal of educating fellow Fordham students about environmental problems and ways to combat them,” said Gabby Perez, FCRH ’21, co-president of SEAJ.

Perez said the Sustainability Committee is focused more on changing Fordham’s policies and practices to be more environmentally sustainable, while SEAJ is focused on helping students engage with environmental activism throughout New York City.

She said both SEAJ and Sustainability Committee members were involved in planning and advertising the events throughout the week, but SEAJ members were more heavily involved with planning two other events.

Some SEAJ e-board members led a group of students downtown on Thursday night to participate in an Extinction Rebellion protest happening at the same time as the Sustainability Committee panel.

“It was really cool,” said Perez. “A bunch of college students from throughout NYC blocked roads and marched through the streets demanding that universities take stronger climate actions.”

Perez also organized for a group of students partnered with the Bronx is Blooming to go to Franz Sigel park and mulch saplingson the Saturday at the end of sustainability week. She said this is an important step for helping the trees grow to full size.

“Overall, I think Sustainability Week went great, and I look forward to planning more events and actions for fellow students in the future,” said Perez.

Executive Vice President of USG, Ashley Qamar, GSB ’20, said she thought Sustainability Week went fabulously.

“VP Tattersfield has done an amazing job in coordinating everything from the panel to the sustainable products sale to Fordham Flea,” Qamar said. “She has a passion for sustainability as it impacts the everyday lives of Fordham students, and I cannot wait to see her continue her work and expand on USG’s efforts to help students pursue more sustainable lifestyles here on campus.”

Tattersfield said in general, the committee has been working with facilities to improve the sprinkler system and have been working with the Marketplace employees to deal with issues with their dishwasher.

According to Tattersfield, the committee is committed to increasing sustainability on campus.

“Sustainability Week is a great opportunity for students that do not typically consider their environmental footprint to get involved in our Fordham’s sustainable community, as well as being a fun celebration for the members of Fordham’s sustainable community,” said Tattersfield.