Environmental Awareness Club receives honor

by Grant Rodgers

Among all the student groups at Simpson, each year, some rise above the rest.

Last year, Simpson’s Environmental Awareness Club (EAC) led many innovative initiatives and claimed the title of “Simpson’s Best Student Group,” awarded by Omicron Delta Kappa and the Center for Vocation and Integrative Learning (CVIL).

According to Leadership Coordinator Bobby Nalean, EAC met the qualifications to win the award by focusing on making changes not only within the Simpson community, but beyond as well.

“We believe that’s what leadership is about,” Nalean said. “It’s about making positive change happen.”

According to David Ward, senior and EAC president, and Kevin Rice, junior and vice president, the group’s success came from the many forward-thinking initiatives it undertook last year including Green Week, a community garden and working with dining services to implement sustainable practices.

“I think we did a really good job last year and this year, not only trying to engage students, but also working with the campus, the administration and facilities,” Ward said. “We kind of tried to have a part in everything at Simpson, not just the students, but the school itself.”

In conjunction with an increased presence on campus over the past two years, Rice says he witnessed a sizeable increase in active members. Further, he says the enthusiasm in the group remains at an all-time high.

“The first meeting we held (this semester) we had around 30 show up,” Rice said. “It wasn’t so much just people trying to feel things out, but it was a group of people who really had initiative and wanted to do something.”

As a prize for winning and to increase the effectiveness of the group, Simpson holds a retreat for the winning organization. In January, EAC held its retreat at the Honey Creek Resort on Lake Rathbun.

“It was a really great experience,” Ward said. “We spent about half the time working on EAC group stuff and the other half just hanging out.”

Rice believes the retreat offered the group a perfect opportunity for members to strengthen relationships.

“I would say one of the coolest things about EAC is that we all like each other and we all like spending time with each other,” Rice said. “Sometimes those type(s) of relationships are not really formed because you don’t really have a setting where that feels comfortable and I think the retreat provided that.”

Coming out of the retreat, both Ward and Rice say that EAC has a long-term focus and a goal oriented mindset.

“We typically deal with things on a semester to semester basis,” Rice said. “Bobby really tried to instigate and plant an idea of what we wanted this group to look like years from now.”

For Rice, for the group to be successful in the future it must initiate a mindset towards sustainability on campus. While he understands many students may not pay attention to sustainability issues, he argues it is important that EAC remains focused on change.

“I want to see that when issues come up that there are people who are interested in changing it and also understanding that it can be changed,” Rice said.