Mass Green Summit brings environmental action to Emerson

The college will host the third annual Mass Green Summit—a series of panels advocating for grassroots environmental action—as part of its seven-year promise to lower the college’s environmental impact.

The event will be in the Semel Theater in Tufte on Feb. 3.

Mass Green Network, the organization behind the summit, will discuss issues such as plastic bags, bottled water, and pesticides. Founder of Mass Green Network Bradford Verter said interest in passing a ban on plastic bags sparked the summits.

“The Mass Green Network fits with everything Emerson is doing,” Amy Elvidge, sustainability coordinator, said.

She said the college and Mass Green Network share a dedication to civic engagement and environmental sustainability.

For Suzie Hicks, events like the summit help with her show, Suzie Hicks the Science Chick. Hicks said she plans to send her team of writers to the summit so they can learn more about plastic, as she plans to incorporate the waste product into the theme of sustainability for college students in her show.

“I think a really good point about this summit is to teach students that they can make change in their own lives, even if it’s the smallest thing,” she said.

The college signed the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment in 2009 under the college’s last president, Jacqueline Liebergott. By doing so, the school took a stand in lowering its environmental impact, Elvidge said, and hosting events like the Mass Green Summit improves their commitment.

Elvidge said Verter contacted her in early fall about the summit. Verter said the purpose of the Mass Green Summit is to establish local, environmental action.

Mass Green Network provides free guidelines to people who are passionate about environmental civic engagement, according to their website.

Verter previously taught Social Movements at Emerson, a course he said centered around studying political demonstrations of agricultural workers across American history.

This year’s summit will feature Boston City Councilors Ayanna Pressley and Michelle Wu and Massachusetts Sen. James B. Eldridge, according to Mass Green Network’s website.

Registration for the event is free and remains open. The mandatory sign-up welcomes anyone and gives the college an exact number of attendees for safety, Verter said.

Earth Emerson, a student environmental organization, has been promoting the event with posters on campus. Kayla Burns, co-president of Earth Emerson and sophomore, said hosting an event like Mass Green Summit can serve as a great way for motivated students to get involved in environmental issues.

“[Our generation] is going to have to carry the burden of finding solutions and dealing with all the damage,” Burns said.

 

Correction, Feb. 5: An earlier version of this article stated the college was fulfilling its promise to lower the college’s environmental impact by hosting this summit. The college is working towards this promise. 

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