The Office of Sustainability will be hosting its Second Annual Sustainability Week April 8-12. The theme of this year’s week-long event is food security. The idea of collaboration, at the forefront of the concept that sustainability is a process, rather than the results of “greening” things, is reflected by all of the organizations at the College coming together to host Sustainability Week.
According to director of the Office of Sustainability, Brian Fisher, “The core of ‘sustainability’ as a topic starts with the basic idea on how to sustain something. Collaboration, building critical social capital and stakeholder investment are critical variables to ‘sustain’ anything… Sustainability Week becomes a product that the campus community can see the fruits of that process… The key to sustainability is connection.”
The Office of Sustainability is kicking off the week with a Farmer’s Market, co-hosted with Dining Services, and a Local Foods Cook-off, hosted by the Greek Sustainability Chairs. Both of these events will take place in Physician’s Promenade from 11 a.m to 3 p.m. The Farmer’s Market will feature local farmers, vendors and a “pop-up restaurant” hosted by Aramark. This will be the first time that local Charleston farmers will be able to sell their goods on campus, as well as the first collaborative event between the office and Dining Services. All produce that will be used in these events is from GrowFood Carolina, South Carolina’s first local food hub.
According to Ashlyn Hochschild, graduate assistant for the Office of Sustainability, “The waste from [these] events will be taken to City Bistro to be composted.”
Students are encouraged to attend events throughout the week to learn about sustainability, Charleston as a sustainable city and explore the American food system through the focus of the week’s events. For those unfamiliar with the Office of Sustainability, there are events to inform all student interests.
For the movie buff, there will be a showing of the documentary, A Place at the Table. For those who like to get their hands dirty, the Political Science Garden Workday seeks to restore the Political Science department’s garden with the help of Green CofC and the Political Science Club. All the waste composted at City Bistro will be used to help with the Political Science Garden. Hochschild said, “We are very excited to show how we can begin to develop a healthier food system that better supports the community. This process is really a visible representation of the efforts the office is making to address problems holistically.”
Other events for the week include the Lowcountry Food Bank fundraiser, Trash Audit, and a collaboration between the Business School and Office of Sustainability for a talk on Wednesday April 10 with a panel of business professionals speaking on how to develop a sustainable business. This talk is in Wells Fargo Auditorium. It will begin at 6PM with networking opportunities and a reception, and will follow with the panel discussion until 8:30 PM.
The latest installment to the office’s Greenbag Lunch Series “Sustainability and National Security” will be held in the Alumni Center at 86 Wentworth Street from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. on Tuesday April 9. This presentation will go along with the theme of food safety.
When asked why the Office chose that theme for Sustainability Week, Fisher said “We wanted to build on the [2012-2013] College Reads theme of food, and calling attention to the food and agricultural systems in which we are embedded… By emphasizing security, we are bringing light to the larger issues around food that impact all of us at multiple scales and in very different but powerful ways.”
The Second Annual Sustainability Week will culminate with the keynote presentation called “Comfortably Unaware” on Thursday April 11. The keynote presentation will be given by Dr. Richard Oppenlander at Towell Library in Cistern Yard at 4:30 p.m. Dr. Oppenlander is a sustainability and health advocate and the author of the book Comfortably Unaware: Global Depletion and Food Choice Responsibility.
A more detailed list of events is available on the Office of Sustainability’s website.