SA: a new Taylor acronym - The Echo News
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SA: a new Taylor acronym

Sustainability assistant program kicks off

Blair Tilson | Echo

There’s a new leadership position at Taylor, and this one impacts students and the world at large. Sustainability Assistants, or SAs, are volunteer student representatives who educate students in their respective residence halls about environmental issues and act as change agents for sustainable living.

The idea for the program sprang up last year during the freshman honors cohort trip to the Bahamas. The group had the opportunity to bounce ideas off President Eugene Habecker and Marylou Habecker about sustainability initiatives on campus. After a few brainstorming sessions, the idea for a Sustainability Assistant materialized.

“Dr. Habecker encouraged us, saying that if sustainability was really going to take hold and gain support at TU, initiatives would have to come through the students,” said sophomore honors student Taylor Hughes.

Inspired, Hughes returned spring semester to see the idea through, visiting Coordinator of Stewardship and Sustainability Kevin Crosby and student leadership.

Kevin Crosby came alongside Hughes and invited Earth and Environmental Science Department Chair Mike Guebert to assist in the creation process. Over the summer, Crosby and Guebert worked together to develop the program. They researched the best practices from other schools and found funding for coordinator Mike Greening, an MES student who will lead the SAs and facilitate the program under Crosby’s direction.

Greening will meet weekly with the SAs to identify potential conservation projects on campus and equip them with the tools necessary to make an impact on campus.

“A few events you can look forward to this year will be a campus-wide energy-saving competition and an end-of-the-year recycling drive,” Greening said.

The SA initiative will start out as a pilot program this year, but if successful, it will receive long-term funding.

“My vision for it is that 25 years from now . . . everyone is going to assume that the SAs have been there as long as the PAs and the DAs, and it’s just a part of the Taylor culture,” Crosby said.

Hughes hopes to see the program inspire growth within Taylor in awareness and involvement with sustainability.

“I hope for ‘living lightly’ and being aware of our impact, not only on the people around us, but on the land around us,” Hughes said. “That, in some way, SAs can be another part of TU that can lead students into a life devoted to growth, healing and creating beauty.”

Students have the opportunity to grow spiritually with the help of DAs and DCs and personally with the help of PAs, but now they can grow to make an impact on God’s creation and their bank account with the help of SAs.

“The sustainability initiative can be seen as a co-curricular for students, educating and engaging them outside the classroom to be better world citizens and know more about creation care and Christian stewardship,” Crosby said.

But sustainability also has a practical aspect. In life after Taylor, students may want to know how to reduce money on their utility bills so they can tithe more to the church or save it for other things.

“Developing a mindset of sustainable living is a practice that can be used in all areas of life,” Greening said. “I think the campus culture at Taylor will be welcoming of the opportunity to improve sustainable living practices that can be carried on with each individual once they leave campus.”

Similar to Greening, Guebert believes the impact Taylor students have on and off campus goes far beyond current understanding. It’s everyone’s responsibility, not just the SAs.

“You might think your actions will have little effect, but one person can influence many, and together, our small actions can make a big difference, for the university, for God and for his creation,” Guebert said.

There will be two SAs per residence hall and others assigned to Campbell and Wolgemuth. The program is still looking for additional SAs and is in particular need for representatives from Breuninger, Samuel Morris and Gerig Hall. The position requires 2-4 hours a week. If you are interested, email Kevin Crosby at kevin_crosby@taylor.edu.

2 Comments

  1. Just to clarify, the SA program is not technically part of the Residence Life department. However, the SAs will be focusing on the residence halls and collaborating with the Res Life staff.
    If you are interested in being a SA email me at kevin_crosby@taylor.edu. Thanks

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