Emerson relaunches eco corps, adds student ambassador positions

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Photo: The Berkeley Beacon Archives

Emerson’s downtown Boston campus.

By Mike McHugh, Staff Writer

After being halted for the past two years, Emerson relaunched Eco Corps, the college’s environmental action group. The relaunch includes hiring students to fill eco ambassador positions—paid student employees tasked with undertaking sustainability efforts around campus through student engagement.

Beginning this semester, the newly selected eco ambassadors—junior political communications majors Ava Tribe, junior business of creative enterprises major Anna Arriaga, first-year WLP major Elizabeth Pereira, first-year creative writing major Katelyn Koenig—plan to initiate various programming and information campaigns to promote efforts like waste diversion and energy use reduction. This aligns with Eco Corps’ larger effort to engage with and educate students about sustainable practices on campus. 

“We have all these sustainability efforts going on behind the scenes, but they’re only as strong as the student buy-in around these existing initiatives is. This [expansion] will allow us to push forward and beyond what we currently have,” said Campus Sustainability Manager Jennifer Lamy.

Along with eco ambassadors, the college will reintroduce student eco representatives and staff corps members so students, faculty, and staff can assist in sustainability efforts around campus. These efforts include awareness events, creative information campaigns, and the research and dissemination of sustainable practices Emerson could adopt.

Faculty and staff corps are campus employees who serve as advisors, incorporate green practices into their departments, host events, and help Emerson become more sustainable in a variety of other ways. Eco representatives collaborate with campus services to participate in or lead initiatives around the college.

“If a student wants to take on a project or really push sustainability—for example, in their residence hall—they can get in touch with me and get campus services support on the projects that they’re doing,” Lamy said.

Initiatives proposed by eco ambassadors like Tribe include the production of a short film to spread information about sustainability efforts, such as improving waste diversion in the dining hall, and green spaces on campus.

“We’re trying to bridge the creative side of Emerson with sustainability by having communication and getting students and faculty who really care about sustainability but maybe just haven’t been connected, involved with these different efforts,” said Tribe. 

Emerson plans to engage in the annual “Campus Race to Zero Waste,” a competition amongst other institutions to see how much each school can limit its waste and energy use over the course of the year. Emerson aims to reach carbon neutrality by 2030 as a part of a carbon commitment signed in 2007. 

Significant strides, from improving waste management to energy reduction, have been made by organizations like the Emerson Green Collective and the Eco Corps so far, but new ambassadors hope to assist students and faculty in further reducing the college’s carbon footprint.

“[Campus Services wants to] get student employees into a position where they can focus primarily on educating and engaging with the rest of the student body,” Lamy said. “We know a lot of messages around sustainability and green practices are noticed most when they come from our peers, so it’s great to have advocates within the student body.”

Students hoping to get involved and stay informed on sustainability efforts around campus can sign up for the Sustainable Emerson newsletter, take part in an upcoming initiative, visit Campus Service’s Sustainability Page, or email sustainability@emerson.edu to pitch or find more ways to support.

“There are so many facets of issue advocacy that Emerson students can really integrate into,” Tribe said. “Even if you’re not completely knowledgeable about the issues, your work can still be really applicable.”