As my campus partner and I started to add “going green”, “environmentally conscience”, and “solar power” to our everyday conversations, I realized that some changes needed to happen within myself in order to be a more effective leader in the movement that I have such a passion for. As a result I was inspired to become a vegetarian during this academic year and that journey alone has been fulfilling. The decision to trade my normal diet for that of a vegetarian was inspired by research that I had been doing on the effects of the meat industry on the environment. The statistics and research was astonishing to me and I knew that if I wanted to become serious about the environmental work that I was doing I could no longer support an industry that contributes to so much of the pollution on our planet. The initial inspiration came from my campus partner, Darius Stanton, who has been a vegetarian for most of his life, and having him as an example made the transition seems possible. I also started to realize the health benefits and that was just an added bonus.
Sharpening my skills in communication, seminar and event planning, and being fully accountable for the work being done and produced were other unexpected benefits of the experience.
We were given so many opportunities to implement change this past year. For example, we were invited to conduct a workshop and to be featured on a panel discussion at Ball State University for their annual Greening the Campus event. Claflin University and Clark Atlanta University were the first Historically Black Universities to be invited and featured in that event. To be the voice of not only your peers but your entire race and culture was a responsibility that none of us took lightly. We were able to make our presence known at the conference because we offered something different and something special to the green movement.
While in Indianapolis we spent time with Imhotep, a Green For All fellow who has a school and nonprofit organization that serves a low-income area of the city. Visiting with him, his wife, son, and extended family was truly the highlight of the entire trip. Experiencing their passion for change was an inspiration that I will never forget. It was a gift to be able to harness that that drive and power and take it back to our campus.
Learning to see the world through “green” eyes has to be the best gift that Green For All could have given me at this point in my college experience. I feel that I now have the tools to continue this work on my campus and in the surrounding community.