Environmental Studies Programs host end of semester Sustainability Showcase

GVSU sustainability champions. Courtesy / GVSU Sustainability

GVSU sustainability champions. Courtesy / GVSU Sustainability

Amanda Rogers

Sustainability is one of the core values at Grand Valley State University. Each year, students, faculty, staff and community partners work hard to follow sustainability practices. 

On Friday, Nov. 30, the Environmental Studies Program will be hosting their Sustainability Showcase in order to present the different projects GVSU students have been working on this semester. The event will take place from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in the Kirkhof Center Grand River room.

“The showcase is for students in the classes who are working on projects to show the results of their work during the semester,” said Director of Environmental Studies Program Kelly Parker. “It is a way to share ideas across classes and across students.”

Parker also said that a lot of the time, a project may not be completely finished in a course of one semester so it gives other students and instructors an opportunity to see these projects and maybe pick them up and move them further along in another class.

There will be two classes giving presentations with audiovisuals and about 25 students in groups who will be giving poster presentations.

All projects and research are centered on ways to promote sustainability. In the past there has been a broad variety of projects – from recycling and composting in the dining centers on campus to working with community organizations.

Parker said that a lot of the fun is just showing up and seeing what people have been working on.

People are welcome to come and go as they like for the event; attendees are not required to stay the full time.

“A lot of time if the students are working on a project with a community partner this will be where they show them and update them on their progress they have made and look at feedback,” Parker said.

He even mentioned that sometimes students will come up with multiple proposals and present those at the showcase, so that the community partner can choose which one they like the best. He said it gives the students the rest of the semester a chance to go back and revise their work.

 “It is a really important part of that design thinking process to present your prototype solutions to the community partner, so that you can get feedback,” Parker said.

He said that they have always done this in the classroom, but it was only several years ago where they noticed that a lot of people were interested in this so they decided to turn it into a public event. 

“I get really excited to see what the students have accomplished and what they are excited about,” Parker said. “I have learned so much about potential things we could do at the university.”

Parker said that many people don’t know this, but after the students have presented their project and finalized them for class, most of them get archived through the library through a scholars work expository since many of these projects are very useful examples for other people to pick up on.