Big Ten student leaders plan green association

By Charlotte Collins

Students at the University of Maryland are trying to create a sustainability association to unite schools across the Big Ten. 

University of Maryland junior Ori Gutin wanted to bring together representatives from green-oriented RSOs from each Big Ten school to promote various types of environmentally conscious and zero-waste programs, which would make the Big Ten the first athletic conference to boast such an association.

“The idea is to bring together a body of students from all across the Big Ten that cares about sustainability to share ideas, collaborate, get feedback on the ideas as to programs we’re implementing on our own campuses to be more successful,” Gutin said. 

He said the association will be able to work together on programs that affect individual Big Ten universities and programs that affect the conference as a whole. 

“There’s a possibility of lobbying on the federal level for sustainability issues as well,” Gutin said.

Matt Hill, the vice president-internal of the Illinois Student Senate, said he is looking forward to being a part of the potential association. Illinois is one of 11 Big Ten schools to have committed to the notion of an all Big Ten green association.

Hill said the association could enhance the communication and collaboration of ideas of student sustainability organizations across the conference. 

“One of the things that really identifies the Big Ten is our athletics. One of their big ideas is the carbon neutral athletics program, creating something where our athletic air emissions will drastically go down across the Big Ten,” Hill said.

Brianna Alston, chairwoman of the environmental sustainability subcommittee on ISS, said that the association is in its beginning stages and is currently working on communication between the schools.

“We’re trying to brainstorm different ideas about what can we do to connect with other universities,” Alston said. “This is the first year for it, so they’re still trying to find how to get everybody involved and connected.”

Charlotte can be reached at [email protected]