Sustainability Q&A with Prof. Casey Schmitt

January 16, 2020

What is your position and department at Gonzaga?

I am an Assistant Professor of Communication Studies

What does sustainability mean to you?

It can mean different things to different people, and that’s okay. I personally see “sustainability” as systemic action toward mutually positive existence that can and likely will continue indefinitely without depleting, injuring, disrespecting, or otherwise harming aspects of the physical, chemical, plant, and animal environment. That personal definition has changed over time, and I am certainly open to it changing again.

How have you been involved in promoting sustainability on campus?

I completed the Sustainability Ambassadors program in my first year on campus (2017/18) and I’ve since aimed to bring subjects of sustainability and sustainable action into my classes. I also attend and promote public sustainability-themed events on and around campus whenever possible, and keep my own campus footprint low. I have a special project focusing on water sustainability and water justice in the works for 2020…

What are some things you do in your personal life to live sustainably?

I don’t drive unless I have to drive. I very rarely eat meat. My family and I built raised garden beds last spring and have used them to source our food this summer and fall. I buy and wear mostly used clothes. I try to teach my child about sustainable practices and respect for our global environment.

How could Gonzaga continue to improve its sustainability efforts?

We could work on reducing food waste from our outside vendors. I get that there are food handling safety and public health laws, but we produce so much waste in the coffee shops on campus alone…

How will you continue to promote sustainability at Gonzaga?

Thankfully, it’s not hard to do at GU, compared to other schools. The critical awareness and commitment to the common good is palpable here. You just need to tap into it consistently and hold people to their own stated ideals. That means talking about it daily, and making the commitment to sustainability always visible on campus. Everywhere you go, you should be reminded not only of WHY we commit to sustainability here at Gonzaga but also HOW EASY it is to do at this university. To that end, I’m going to keep letting my sustainability freak flag fly, keeping it visible and in the public eye. If you keep people talking, you keep people active!