Sustainability Q&A with Andie Rosenwald
What is your position/department/year/major/club affiliation at Gonzaga?
I am a sophomore double majoring in environmental studies and business administration with a minor in leadership studies. I am a Sustainability Engagement Coordinator in Gonzaga’s Office of Sustainability and am a member of Gonzaga Environmental Organization.
What does sustainability mean to you?
To me, sustainability means living in a way that can be replicated on our earth for generations and generations to come.
How have you been involved in promoting sustainability on campus?
As a member of GEO’s Rethink Waste committee, I have participated in many events to improve sustainability on campus. Recently, I helped put on a sustainable period event that provided reusable products and education about period waste, which was a huge success! We have also put on a Halloween candy wrapper recycling project, composting education events, and campus waste audits. Additionally, I started working at the Office of Sustainability at the beginning of this semester and have already had many opportunities to learn and educate others about issues related to sustainability. I am very excited to see what the rest of this year brings!
What are some things you do in your personal life to live sustainably?
It can be difficult to live sustainably on campus, but I try my best to limit my consumption of single-use goods as much as possible by bringing my own cups, straws, and utensils to get coffee and food. I also regularly talk with my roommates to make sure that my apartment composts and recycles properly. Finally, wherever possible, I thrift before buying new, buy from B-Corp certified companies, and choose low waste products like laundry detergent sheets instead of detergent that comes in big plastic containers.
How could Gonzaga continue to improve its sustainability efforts?
There are certainly countless ways that Gonzaga could improve its sustainability, but one of the biggest opportunities I see is making sustainable products more accessible to students. With the exception of Cash and Carry, most of the grocery options on and near campus do not offer great bulk/low waste options. This makes it difficult to shop sustainably, as there are not many truly sustainable options that are convenient for students. I think Gonzaga could make significant improvements by ensuring that retail locations offer fair trade, environmentally friendly products and packaging. Further, I think they could make it clearer to students when packaging is compostable or recyclable, as I know that many products that come in responsible containers are improperly disposed of on campus.
How will you continue to promote sustainability at Gonzaga?
In partnership with RHA and Gonzaga Sustainable Energy, I will be putting on an energy reduction competition on campus called “Lights Out, Gonzaga,” where residence halls will compete to see who can reduce their electricity consumption by the greatest percentage during the month of April. I am really excited to see the kind of impact we can make just by changing a few daily habits! There will be lots more information on this soon!
How do you see sustainability intersecting with social justice issues on an institutional, country, or global scale?
I think sustainability is fundamentally tied to social justice at every level. While I am by no means an expert on this topic, I think it is really important that we consider the impact that the environment has on us daily and how that impact is influenced by our race and class. On a global scale, for instance, countries that are experiencing the most intense effects of climate change are overwhelmingly non-white and are typically considered “less developed.” Thus, they tend to be mitigated and minimized in the media because they are not a part of the white global North. While climate change may not feel like a pressing issue to us in Spokane, we cannot allow our privilege to let us turn a blind eye to problems happening all around the world, nonetheless the problems in our own local communities.