On special evenings, instead of running over to the dining hall with the rest of campus at dinnertime, Denison’s Sustainability Fellows are coordinating “Soup and Sustainability” gatherings in first-year residence hall student lounges.
Students gather to enjoy homemade soup from the Soup Loft (a downtown Granville hot spot), while student members of the Sustainability Fellows present information and offer stimulating discussion on just about any issue associated with sustainable living.
The Sustainability Fellows have coordinated more than a dozen Soup and Sustainability evenings each semester. This year, they’ve created opportunities for discussion on varied topics, like hydraulic fracturing, women’s health, and even sustainable politics.
Molly McGravey, an assistant director for residential housing and education, coordinates the initiative, which educates students about the sustainable triple bottom line, addressing environmental, economic and social goals. The Fellows liaise with other student groups, the residence hall education staff, and even local businesses to create the programs for their student colleagues.
“When you see your peers learning, growing, and doing some of that hard thinking, it’s not only inspirational—it’s a call to experience the same thing yourself.”
“These students have raised the visibility of Denison’s commitment to sustainable issues. We’ve made significant strides toward local shopping, recycling, composting, and have created a heightened awareness of how to practice sustainability in our daily lives,” says McGravey. “And along the way, the students are learning so many skills: organization, teamwork, communication, and leadership to name just a few.”
Ludwig Icevski, a junior who is double-majoring in economics and cinema, started working with the group last year. One of his projects has been with the Terracycle Program, which collects difficult-to-recycle materials and repurposes them into new products. A percentage of the sales of those products is then donated to charity.
Working with Sustainability Coordinator Jeremy King, Icevski built and painted a brightly colored box to collect Terracycle items. He’s also working to integrate the program into all social gatherings on campus.
Icevski’s commitment to sustainability began as a young boy growing up in Sweden. He says, “I know it sounds a little cheesy, but my father would say to me ‘If you’re nice to people, they’ll be nice to you.’ It’s always been easy for me to move that one step further and apply that to the environment.”