This past Wednesday, the Women’s Center and the Robert A. Sustainable Systems Education and Research hosted “Women & Sustainability.” Attendees hiked along the Macoskey Center’s bluebird trail, learned about potting and spent time away from screens to focus on the natural world.
The two centers began collaborating virtually during COVID-19. However, this event is only the second to be hosted with new organizers who are trying a different approach than their predecessors.
Adehl Schwaderer has been the sustainability education graduate assistant since May 2021. Assistant Director of the Women’s Center and Pride Center, Kendra Claypool, assumed her position in January after working as a graduate assistant. Both women enjoyed the collaboration and wanted to take it up a notch.
“Adehl came to me when she joined last year and said, ‘We want to do more outcome-based programming,’ which I really love because I love outcome-based programming,” Claypool said. “Rather than watching a movie and having a discussion on it, we actually are doing these events.”
The “Women & Sustainability” event takes place twice a semester. Their previous event in February focused on sustainable period products. They reached more people than expected. One man came to the event and “didn’t know how important it was to know until he learned it.” He mentioned using the information to benefit his girlfriend or future children.
During the same event, about 12 women approached one table to ask about menstrual cups.
“They might not have access to the knowledge . . . Talking to someone who actually uses them and getting the questions answered specifically that you want, rather than Googling, is sometimes a lot more impactful,” Claypool said.
Schwaderer added that “people almost don’t want to ask, either, because they don’t want to seem silly or stupid for not knowing something.”
Both organizers practice sustainability and mindfulness in their personal lives. As a graduate student, Schwaderer acknowledges that it is more difficult in a school setting. However, both women have access to helpful resources through their organizations.
“The purpose of these events, the core basis, is that we are trying to reach a broader audience,” Schwaderer said. “I know as someone that works at the Macoskey Center, there are a lot of students who don’t know that we exist or that we’re a part of campus.
“We are trying to get more publicity around our events and also the resources that both centers have to offer.”