Reflections from this year have highlighted the importance of community and collaboration for EcoReps. Our ideas bloomed because of collaborative efforts: the inaugural Grow Getters, our social media presence, and the kickoff of our blog. Going forward, the EcoReps can take what we learned and implement it as the college transitions to on-campus learning and living.
First, themes of community will continue to be crucial. The move to on-campus after a very difficult year will require strong support systems because all of us are going into an unknown. I am looking ahead to how the EcoReps can provide support for the campus community. Our Mission Statement calls for the “Pomona EcoReps [to] serve the Claremont Colleges community as a student-run sustainability hub.” Our drive to contribute to the Claremont College community and beyond is influenced by the aim to create a space that welcomes discussion and collaboration because the EcoReps believe that “everyone has something unique to contribute to the conversation, and that environmentalism requires a community-based culture of awareness, care, and engagement.”
In the incoming year, I am looking forward to building on the pillars of collaboration.
In an online world, collaboration was critical. For the EcoReps, this meant working in teams to brainstorm and implement our ideas. Our EcoNews Bulletin was a product of collaboration; meetings were built on cooperation and partnerships. Every week the team shared ideas and executed them, as a result, I learned about teamwork each time the group met and produced a newsletter. In the incoming year, I am looking forward to building on the pillars of collaboration. As the campus opens, our projects will grow, while other projects will begin to sprout; regardless, collaboration with each other and with our community will be necessary for our projects to thrive.
In the Mission Statement, we refer to the EcoReps as a “sustainability hub.” Prior to the online year, the EcoReps established the centrality of sustainability on campus, yet this year extended the meaning of what a “hub” meant. With the rise of social interconnectedness and a dependence on social media, a hub requires that information reaches all corners of an online space. Taking lessons from this year, the future for the EcoReps is about fusing the digital space with the physical.
Our physical space is located in the Sustainability Office on South Campus, where students can get reusable and foldable silicone menstruation cups, “borrow Greenware plates, cups, and cutlery for events or Cookware for cooking and baking in the dorm kitchens, Check out a drying rack or power strip...or LED bulb from the Sustainability Office.” Both spaces meet our “aim to promote sustainable practices on campus by connecting students to funding, the Pomona College administration, and information.”
In the year ahead, I hope to continue to encourage sustainable practices. I am looking forward to participating in ReCoop, and visiting the Book Room and Free Room. Our goal will continue to be to provide resources and educate our peers sustainable habits while living in a communal college campus. Because of the nature of habit formation, the EcoReps aim to share resources and practices with our community at the beginning of next year.
With the new year and many changes, I hope you can join us in the Sustainability Office not only to learn more about sustainable practices, but to also form part of a greater sustainable community. As a first-year EcoRep, I appreciate the year we had and look forward to future collaboration and community building.
Maria Duran Gonzalez is currently living in Miami, Florida, and is a first-year prospective Environmental Analysis major. She is passionate about food justice, gardening, and intersectional environmentalism.