SustainFest 2017

Photo courtesy of Sustainability Literacy Institute, the Office of Institutional Diversity, and the Office of Student Life.

Train your brain to sustain” is pasted all over walls, bulletin boards, doors, stickers and shirts all across the College of Charleston campus, but does anyone really know what it means? The future of our environment has been looking dim in recent years. But that does not mean the people who care will not do what it takes to save it. The little things make the biggest difference — placing garbage in the correct labeled can, picking up trash, turning off the lights when you are not using them, etc. The goal of training your brain to sustain is to start a movement — everyone doing the little things to maintain our slowly decaying environment.

On Aug. 31st in the Sottile Theater, College of Charleston students and faculty gathered for the first annual SustainFest to learn about the importance of water. Greeted by the mesmerizing aroma of buttered popcorn, free t-shirts and a volunteer table, attendees flocked through the doors and happily into their seats.

Clay Thomas-Muller, an employee of, spoke on the indigenous perspective of water. Muller shared about how water is sacred. It is a tool we use to clean ourselves, wash our dishes, do our laundry and keep us alive. Instead of telling people why we need to protect water, Muller presented his perspective by telling stories meant to empower the people. Muller began by backtracking to a time when people lived in harmony with the earth and ended by bringing the audience to today’s challenges. Through each testimony and example, Muller made it his goal to inspire the audience to be a part of something bigger than themselves.

Photo courtesy of Flickr Creative Comments

A sign behind Muller read “imagine if everyone was as passionate about sustainability as they are about college football.” Water matters, sustainability matters, the earth matters. Becoming eco-friendly is not a chore. It is tiny things everyone can do daily to keep the world happy and healthy just a little bit longer.

SustainFest organized this whole event to open the eyes of people — to make them realize it is not impossible to make a difference, one person at a time. “My hope is that one day we can once again live in harmony with the earth,” said Muller. The goal may seem far away, but every small step in the right direction will get us closer.

Following the presentation, Sol Driven Train performed. Brass-kickin’ roots rock kept the crowd entertained following the inspirational time with Muller. The first annual SustainFest was the newest step to further implementing sustainability on College of Charleston’s campus. Every singular effort helps and as Muller said, it is all about being a part of something bigger than yourself.


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