The national push to engage in environmentally conscious activities has encouraged Americans to get involved. Various activist groups often emphasize simple tasks such as recycling paper and plastic bottles, turning off lights while not in use, and not littering.
The Environmental Coalition at Virginia Tech is attempting to do just this, bringing this nationwide trend to Blacksburg. Founded approximately eight years ago, the Environmental Coalition embraces students who love their university and work to keep it, and the world around it, healthy.
The club works on a wide range of projects throughout campus, including planting trees and gardens, working with dining services to bring more sustainable food to dining halls, promoting the use of the local farmer’s market and encouraging smarter use of energy.
Environmental Coalition members meet several times a week to plan their projects and activities. Formal meetings are held on Tuesday nights from 8:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. in Squires Brush Mountain Room A, while projects are conducted on Saturday afternoons and weekly planning takes place on Sundays.
The members work diligently to come up with new ideas to help to spread the word and promote their environmental projects. Alex Kosnett, a senior biochemistry and environmental policy and planning major, leads the Environmental Coalition’s initiatives as club president.
“We always try to coordinate with other groups, departments and administrations who get Hokies engaged because a lot of people think that caring about the environment is a great thing,” Kosnett said. “But, it affects every aspect of our lives, and we want to reflect that in what we do.”
Kosnett works to reach out to all types of individuals on campus as a way to spur interest in the environment.
While he was initially pursuing a degree in biochemistry, Kosnett was drawn to the club through a tree-planting project on the Drillfield.
He decided the environment was something he wanted to include in his future career plans, and after his experience with the Environmental Coalition, decided to incorperate environmental policy to his studies.
“We have engineers, communications majors and biochemists,” Kosnett said. “In cases like mine, a lot of people start getting involved with the Environmental Coalition and realize it’s something they’re truly interested in.”