Many students recognize the importance of sustainability, but feel they lack the outlet to express their environmental concerns. At UTSA, two of the largest student organizations that champion going green are The Movement, which has headed ambitious initiatives in their infancy as an organization, and the Green Society, which started activities in spring 2006.
The Movement, founded in April 2010 by senior marketing major Travis Jourdan and senior biology major, Jared Haney, hopes to help students capitalize on their passions of sustainability.
The Movement’s president, Jourdan, believes what differentiates The Movement from other groups is “constant productivity in the realms of sustainability and philanthropy.”
Jared Haney, vice president of The Movement, notes that one of The Movement’s most important goals is student enrichment, saying, “we want students to be more involved around UTSA through our initiatives around the city and the university.”
The Movement members have also held leadership positions within the UTSA community such as the Green Fund Committee, Dr. Romo’s Sustainability Council, the University Advancement Committee and the Student Government Association.
Defining what it means to exist in a constant state of productivity, The Movement has involved itself with issues such as bottled water dependency, plastic bag pollution, double-sided printing, UTSA policy change and is regularly involved with Habitat for Humanity.
Some of The Movements most prominent accomplishments include the development of the Green Fund, a fund designed to encouraged sustainability practices by utilizing student fees, which, in its first proposal, passed a bill to install six hydration stations on campus. This proposal had its roots in a The Movement initiative to reduce bottled water dependency under their 2010 “Trust the Tap” campaign.
In the a different effort to reduce bottled water consumption, The Green Society began, in fall 2011 semester, promoting its new campaign, “Think Outside the Bottle.” The campaign is a national awareness drive, carried out by students to stop the use of bottled water by reducing consumer demand and purchase. Green Society President, Merced Carbajal, a junior multi-disciplinary studies science major, believes that if the majority of students are willing to switch their habits from bottled-water to tap-water, a boycott can be successful done at UTSA.
“We have tabled several times trying to get people to sign a pledge to stop the use of bottled water. Since UTSA has a contract with Pepsi, the only way to stop the retail is to make an economical decrease in sales,” said Carbajal of the Green Society’s tabling efforts.
A “Water Taste Test” was conducted on campus to see if students could distinguish the difference between tap and Nestle Pure life. The final results were 50/50 most students stated that they could not recognize the difference and had to guess between the two. One reason so many students had trouble distinguishing the two is because Nestle Pure Life water bottles and other companies have disclosed that their water bottles consist of 100 percent tap water.
Many companies do not have to disclose that their water is tap water because they get it from different locations, which means that ones purchases more expensive water to get tap water from different locations.
Working for change in other areas of conservation, Movement members have also been involved in UTSA policy change by their involvement in passing a double-sided printing bill.
The bill sets default printing settings to printing in both sides of the page, which will come into effect in Summer 2012.
Notable accomplishments by individual Movement members include: Earth Week Events, spearheaded by Jennifer Kennedy; as well as a sponsorship from Nike to recycle used tennis shoes into sport courts in underdeveloped nations, secured by member Michael Adames. The organization also proposed a bill that sets the default printing settings in the university’s machine to print in both sides of the page, which will come into effect in summer 2012
For students interested in joining the Movement, the only prerequisite asked that they bring is a passion for change. Jourdan believes the Movement can offer to its members the “free flow of ideas,” that will help them establish connections with one another, thus allowing them to “further act upon their interest.” Haney notes that The Movement can offer change, with their group motto: “What Moves You?”
While The Movement hopes to leave a positive lasting impact on UTSA, Jourdan believes the most lasting impact will be on the student members in The Movement, “who learn firsthand that change is possible, and that strategic collaboration and passionate work can lead to some serious achievements.”
“We know that our generation has the ability to make the future a bright one; we just need to stop following and start leading,” Haney said.