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SEA highlight importance of recognizing environmental issues

By Albert Reiss

Section: Features

February 26, 2016

Currently, Students for Environmental Action (SEA) is the largest environmental group on campus that “brings various environmentalists together in an effort to make Brandeis more green,” said Rachel Zhu ’18, co-president. Participation in SEA allows fellow Brandeis students to both make an environmental impact on campus and beyond, in addition to talking with like-minded students.

Some of the responsibilities of the club include “implementing new sustainable projects/initiatives, educating the Brandeis community and working with groups to further environmentalism both state and nationwide,” said Zhu. Given SEA’s large size, it is able to take on projects that will have a significant impact on campus. Among its environmental initiatives is a sustainability project to reduce the use of plastic bags and paper cups on campus.

Apart from its sustainability initiatives, a large part of SEA’s mission has been devoted to increasing the Brandeis student body’s environmental literacy. Being inundated on a daily basis by news reports decrying environmental catastrophes means that education is of the utmost importance to understanding both these environmental phenomena as well as their impacts. As Zhu pointed out, “Environmental issues are terrifying, but often, the general public does not see them as imminent threats. SEA is a stepping stone to mitigating environmental degradation.” Becoming more educated about the environment through SEA can give Brandeis students the tools necessary to address these problems in the future.

Those interested in joining SEA are in for an active time. Emilia Boess ’19, another co-president of SEA, commented, “SEA is a fantastic space for anyone with anywhere from a slight to tremendous interest in environmental action. It is a great opportunity to not only learn about sustainable efforts, but also voice your own ideas to increase sustainability on campus. It is also a fantastic opportunity to collaborate with administration and essentially learn about how an institution tackles environmental issues.” No matter the amount of time available or knowledge about the environment, the SEA has a place for all interested Brandeis students.

What makes SEA rather unique is that after discussing environmental issues affecting the Brandeis community, ideas are eventually put into practice and implemented with real policies. Boess in particular noted how, “When I joined SEA in my first semester, I was surrounded by such enthusiastic people and I could tell that the members were passionate about ways in which to make this campus more sustainable.” Indeed, what drew her to the club was “the mere fact that rather than simply discussing environmental issues and brainstorming ways to spread sustainability, SEA took those ideas and implemented them.”

Zhu also commented how it’s “incredibly rewarding to join SEA, thinking that you’ll just be talking about your love for the environment but then, at the end of the semester, seeing all the work you’ve done with the administration and the campus.” Many environmental issues affecting the greater Brandeis campus and student body can be impacted by participating in SEA.

SEA is also a great place for students looking to combine environmental learning with a rewarding and fun atmosphere. For example, the club hosts various hikes and trips to Boston, as well as hosting their annual SEA Coffeehouse, which is intended to bring “all sorts of on-campus talent under one roof,” explained Zhu.

This Friday, Feb. 26, SEA will be hosting a dance party called We Got the Beet, and next Monday, Feb. 29 is an event with Net Impact Club called Good Earth Nepal. Students interested in SEA or learning more about environmental issues are invited to attend.

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