Sustainability Advisory Committee Interns: A Closer Look
Since 2012, the Lebanon Valley College Sustainability Advisory Committee (SAC) has worked to make the campus a greener place, and student interns have been a big part of the initiatives they roll out each year.
Evolved from the Sustainability Task Force, SAC initiated recycling programs, dining service efforts, and other corporate sustainability measures to improve LVC, making it more earth-friendly. Interns have a variety of responsibilities within SAC, and represent the voice of students on campus to the committee.
Current SAC intern Alex Bushong ’18, a digital communications major, was recently interviewed to provide a better understanding of the role of a SAC intern, and of the committee as a whole.
Cooper Gerus: How does one become a SAC intern?
Alex Bushong: SAC interns usually keep their role until they graduate, so whenever an intern is getting close to graduation, a listing is posted to accept résumés for a replacement. From there interns apply and go through an interview process, which can potentially lead to becoming an intern.
CG: Who do the interns work with directly? Any faculty members in particular?
AB: There are two types of SAC interns, those who handle data and others who work on communications. They attend all SAC meetings and work directly with members of the committee. Specifically, the data interns report to Dr. Kshama Harpankar, assistant professor of economics, while the communications interns report to Mike Zeigler, LVC director of client services, and Ali Wenger in the Office of Marketing and Communications.
CG: How can students who aren’t interns get involved with sustainability on campus?
AB: One way to get involved with sustainability is to join clubs. The Environmental Club and Outdoors Club both participate in sustainability of campus. A new student position called an eco rep is also being introduced in the near future, which will enable students to directly encourage sustainability on campus. Another cool way to get involved is through the new special interest house coming to campus next year called the sustainability house. Students who are committed to sustainability can apply to live in that house. The easiest way for students to get involved is to simply make sustainable choices on a daily basis, such as recycling, closing windows, and turning out lights.
CG: That explains why you always tell me to hit the lights when we leave the dorm. Anyway, how do SAC interns help make campus a greener place? Can they propose ideas or guide certain policies?
AB: SAC interns help sustainability on campus by communicating information to the students about what SAC is working on each semester. In addition, data interns compile and present their data, which leads to taking a primary role in decisions regarding the school’s carbon footprint. Interns also have a strong voice when it comes to participating in SAC. They attend the monthly SAC meetings where they can propose ideas and initiatives just like any other member of the committee.
CG: What kinds of sustainability projects are happening at LVC right now?
AB: SAC is currently working on a number of projects at LVC. Most recently SAC teamed up with the Office of Facilities Services to ensure that the new $20 million Jeanne and Edward H. Arnold Health Professions Pavilion will be LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified. A LEED certification basically ensures that a building is resource efficient. Another big project SAC is working on is an action plan for the American College and University President’s Climate Commitment. President Lewis E. Thayne. Ph.D., signed the commitment last year on Earth Day It makes the commitment that LVC will be 100 percent carbon neutral in the future. SAC’s job is to develop a plan that will enable us to accomplish this goal.
CG: Anything else you would like to add about SAC or your interest in sustainability?
AB: I was personally surprised about a lot of things when I became a SAC intern. There are staff members who are very committed to making LVC a more sustainable campus, but there is not a ton of support from the students. I think this has to do with an overall lack of awareness or maybe just a lack of caring from the students. Little things can go a long way, so if more students were simply more aware of their environmental impacts, it could make a big difference.
SAC interns are an integral part of our campus community. Any interested students can reach out to the committee if they would like to get involved, and they are always looking for new input regarding how to make our campus greener. Additional information about the committee can be found at www.lvc.edu/life-at-lvc/sustainability-initiatives/.
Cooper Gerus for LVC 430 Feature Writing