By: Max Christman, President of the Honor Society For Sustainability, Alpha Chapter, Arizona State University
About a week right after New Year’s, I went skiing in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Last week, I visited the Northeast for the first time in about 9 years and it was colder than it was in Jackson Hole. I’m a native Wisconsinite, so I’m used to cold weather, but New York was quite chilly last week. Making matters worse was the fact that none of my cold weather clothes were with me in Arizona when I was packing, so I was quite ill-prepared for the polar-vortex that greeted me and my co-worker, Allie Brickner.
Allie and I are undergraduates at Arizona State University (ASU), and we are the Vice President and President, respectively, of the Honor Society for Sustainability (HSS) Alpha Chapter. We began as an ASU student organization back in Spring 2012 and have since grown to about 70 members at ASU. ASU had the first School of Sustainability in the country, and we thought it was appropriate and necessary that we create the Honor Society for Sustainability. Our ultimate goal, from the beginning, was to become a member of the Association of College Honor Societies. We worked on web search optimization to market our name and were lucky enough to be contacted by William Achnitz back in January of 2013. We had a few chats via Google Hangout and Will became acquainted with our current officers and our founders. No one else that has ever contacted us has been as motivated or enthusiastic as Will. With a little help from us, Will worked quickly and has positioned LIU Post to graduate it’s first HSS class in Spring 2014.
With our confidence in Will firm, we thought that it’d be prudent to come out and visit Will to see how sustainability is different at LIU Post. While ASU has a more developed academic program (with an established major in sustainability since 2006), the energy and excitement at LIU Post is infectious creating an atmosphere very conducive to an up-and-coming sustainability department. Upon meeting with the sustainability committee, I felt great pride that this would be the setting for our Beta chapter. LIU Post has positioned itself admirably, with a blossoming program backed by the diverse group of people on the sustainability committee. The involvement of people from such a wide array of academic interests, backgrounds, and career levels is highly conducive to a productive future vision and is emblematic of what a sustainability framework should look like in academia. We talked to numerous LIU Post faculty and staff including Dr. Jessica Hayes, the Associate Dean of Students. Overall, we felt that the visit was enlightening and delightful.
LIU Post, while smaller than ASU, still boasts a well-sized student population and manages to achieve a liberal arts college feel while still having the resources of a large, research university with the added benefit of the metropolis of New York City only an hour away. I couldn’t be happier with our partnership with LIU Post, and I look forward to seeing how our Beta chapter progresses in the near future. Now and in the future, when I talk about “our” actions as the HSS, LIU Post will be as much a part of it as ASU.