Photo courtesy of The Green Society
The Green Society is an environment-based organization at UTSA. They revolve around advocating for topics like sustainability and eco-friendliness.
“I feel like the biggest thing we offer is comradery [and] friendship,” Karina Guthmann said.
Guthmann — a proud environmentalist and Vice President of the Green Society — joined the organization three years ago. She stayed with the organization because of how friendly the board and members were. Guthmann felt like it was easy to fit in because they all shared similar interests and views about the environment.
Every semester, The Green Society goes camping twice: one trip for all members and the other for active members. This is a great opportunity for new members, especially those who have never been camping before. In order to participate, members must pay a $40 due and have seven active member points. The payment covers two meals and the campsite registration, and the active member points can be earned by going to events, general meetings or tabling. The Green Society encourages group participation in tabling events; these events promote interaction with the board as well as prospective members.
“Members will achieve the seven point requirement if they attend every meeting,” Guthmann said.
The organization is also involved in volunteering. The board tries to get as many volunteer opportunities as possible, so members can help out their community and even gain volunteer hours. According to Guthmann, The Green Society is a great place for new members to meet people who want to help and restore the environment while creating, developing and maintaining friendships.
The Green Society has nine officers: President, Vice President, Garden Manager, Volunteer Coordinator, Public Relations Manager, Garden Coordinator, Treasurer, Event Coordinator and Director of Communications. Guthmann, Vice President of two years, says President and Vice President carry similar roles as they both lead the organization and hold people accountable for being on task.
“I just make sure people are doing what they are supposed to be doing,” Guthmann said.
Guthmann also has other duties like posting on the organization’s GroupMe, monitoring their social media and brainstorming ideas for the organization.
“With being Vice President, I feel like I have gotten way more confident in my ability to delegate which is really awesome,” Guthmann said.
Recently, Guthmann got hired for a work-study position with the Office of Sustainability. She is working on many specific projects, such as composting efficiently on campus, and says the job corresponds with her position as Vice President.
Guthmann believes maintaining the health of our environment is crucial.
“The environment is everywhere but it’s not something people think of and don’t consider in their daily lives which is kind of sad,” Guthmann said.
She goes on to explain that for example, people may litter and do not realize that it is destructive to the environment until it is too late.
“They aren’t necessarily malicious; they are just living their lives and they don’t know that it’s wrong.”
Guthmann says that becoming an environmentalist has been very different in her personal life. She has gotten questions from her mother about topics like plastic and if recycling all plastics is okay. According to Guthmann, not all plastic can truly be recycled. If you eat from a plastic food container, you have to rinse it out before recycling it. Guthmann recalls her mother being shocked by her explanation.
Guthmann believes educating children is important because they are going to be the future generation that could make a change and create better policies. She shed light on the idea that we are restarting. We have come to the realization that some of our habits are hurting the environment and even the planet. She believes in the importance of education, especially since climate change is a current issue.
Guthmann has faith in the perseverance of humanity in resolving the many environmental problems we face today. For example, a small group of activists called Grassroots Efforts make their voice heard in the community and talk about the issues that must change because many big corporations will not.
“These small but very impassioned people is what is going to make the change,” Guthmann said.
She says that The Green Society has it on their radar to attend a climate strike soon. In the past, they have gone to events in San Antonio to be active and show that they are a student-led organization that is trying to make a change.
“I think it would be really awesome to have a lot of people join just because it would be cool to have all these people with the same mindset, but The Green Society is for everyone in every level of environmentalism,” Guthmann said.
Guthmann explained that the organization is a great place for new environmentalists to get started on thinking about the environment and how to be more eco-friendly. They are an intersectional organization, which means they care about the planet and the people.
“Everyone is welcome here, this is a safe space and we just have our little niches, our little passions and we want to share them with you and it just so happens to be all centered around the environment,” said Guthmann.
The Green Society tables every Monday from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Their general meetings occur every Tuesday at 7 p.m. They announce the current meeting location on Instagram every week. Their events are posted on their Instagram, and new members will also be added to their GroupMe. They have camping later this semester, and a UIW volunteer event every last Saturday of the month.