College Dems launch new group

Nick Glunt

Members of Kent State’s College Democrats have started a non-partisan student organization on campus with the hope of improving environmental awareness through events and programs.

Organization president Erika Schneider said she and vice president Laura Vanzo, as passionate environmentalists, realized there were no environmentalist student groups at Kent State. They found members and built the Kent Environmentalists Group from the ground up barely a month ago.

“Humans really do have a serious impact on the Earth,” Schneider said. “We need to lessen our impact and fix what we’ve already messed up.”

Among many discussions, the group has begun deciding what it will do for Earth Day, which will be celebrated April 22. Schneider said she hopes to do something noticeable because it is the 40th anniversary of the first Earth Day.

The Kent Environmentalists Group meets Mondays at 8 p.m. in Room 302 of the Student Center.

The plans for Earth Day are still under discussion. Schneider said the group is thinking about hosting a campus clean-up event and showing some documentaries.

“We want to make sure people know environmentalism isn’t all about global warming,” Schneider said. “Even if global warming was disproved, there would still be environmentalism.” Recycling, cleaner energy and pollution are just some examples of other environmental issues.

As an organization, founding member Stephanie Pike said they hope to make Kent State more green-oriented.

“It feels like we create a lot of waste,” Pike said. She said instead of throwing out its excess food, Dining Services could either mulch it or give it to a shelter.

Pike said other college campuses have much better recycling programs than Kent State’s. She thinks the Kent Environmentalists Group could improve the university’s program.

Schneider said she thinks the university should adopt green fees, an optional fee of five dollars to the cost of tuition, which would go toward making the campus more environmentally friendly.

Though most of the founding members are also members of the College Democrats, Schneider said she wants to stress that the group is nonpartisan. She said environmentalism is a human issue, not a political one. The group can still be involved in politics, just not affiliated with either the liberal or conservative agenda.

“We don’t have another planet,” Schneider said, “so we kind of need this one.”

Contact student politics reporter Nick Glunt at [email protected].