Austin College students will mark a “green” milestone this spring–holding their 10th annual GreenServe on Saturday, April 13, in a morning of volunteer projects focused on environmental responsibility and sustainability. Over 3,100 service hours have been contributed since the project began in 2010. GreenServe is co-sponsored by Thinking Green (Think) and the Austin College Service Station. All Austin College students, organizations, staff, and faculty are encouraged to participate.
“Austin College students enthusiastically volunteer to serve our local communities through environmental stewardship projects every year, and we are proud to continue a decade-long tradition of community service,” said Dr. Mari Elise Ewing, associate professor of Environmental Studies and faculty sponsor of Think. “We encourage students to reflect on how individual actions impact communities—both locally and globally.”
Organizers have worked for several weeks to arrange the agenda for the volunteer effort. Sites for volunteer work are designated across Grayson County—including habitat cleanup at Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge, gardening and maintenance at Sherman Community Garden, and community outreach at the Texoma Earth Day Festival. Additionally, students will work at Austin College’s Sneed Prairie and maintain garden beds on campus. Local businesses such as El Toro Mestizo Mexican Food and Tacos will support the efforts and volunteers of GreenServe.
The College has long supported environmental concerns and has been a signatory of the College and University Presidents Climate Commitment (now the Second Nature Carbon Commitment) since 2008. In addition to organizing events like GreenServe, students also propose sustainability initiatives on campus. In 2011, Austin College students initiated and voted in the Student Sustainability Fund; each student gives five dollars to this fund annually through the Activity Fee. The fund has been used to purchase water bottle refill stations around campus, native plants for campus garden beds, and additional campus recycling bins. Recently, the SSF Committee and Student Assembly approved a proposal to install an electric vehicle charging station on campus, exemplifying the wide range of greening projects achievable through this fund. Think also sponsors an annual “Unplugged” competition aimed at reducing electricity usage in residence halls.
Austin College, a private national liberal arts college located north of Dallas in Sherman, Texas, has earned a reputation for excellence in academic preparation, international study, pre-professional foundations, leadership development, committed faculty, and hands-on, adventurous learning opportunities. One of 40 schools profiled in Loren Pope’s influential book Colleges That Change Lives, Austin College boasts a welcoming community that embraces diversity and individuality, with 46 percent of students identifying as persons of color. The residential student body of approximately 1,300 students and more than 100 expert faculty members allow a 13:1 student-faculty ratio and personalized attention. This year, the campus recognizes 100 years of co-education and has had several opportunities to recognize the history of women and accomplishments of current alumnae. Austin College is related by covenant to the Presbyterian Church (USA) and cultivates an inclusive atmosphere that supports students’ faith journeys regardless of religious tradition. Founded in 1849, the College is the oldest institution of higher education in Texas operating under original name and charter.