GV Sustainability Showcase shows the potential of a greener future


GVL / Samuel Nelson

Jonathan Carroll, Staff Writer

Grand Valley State University hosted its winter semester Sustainability Showcase, a week-long event in March that highlights the environmental impacts in the West Michigan area, along with creative solutions and ideas. 

The event featured trivia nights with questions centered around sustainability, talks from professionals in the field and introduced new sustainability courses coming to GVSU. The work from many organizations and students have brought hope for a greener future. 

On March 25, the final day of the Sustainability Showcase, students, community members and companies across West Michigan gave presentations about issues impacting the state of Michigan and communities across the country.

Students set up tables with information they’ve been studying over the course of the semester. Projects included both in-person and online posters, games and interactive ideas on how people can get involved to make their communities more sustainable.

GVSU student Abby Gratton, who is taking the “Principles of Sustainability” course, created a game with her group that highlighted the need to clean up pollution on the Grand River.

“We want to bring people in to not only enjoy the river, but help keep it clean for the environment and other people to enjoy it too,” Gratton said. 

Gratton was one of many students from various environmental science classes presenting at the event. 

Another presentation came from a group committed to sustainability. A local organization called the New City Neighbors, a youth program that teaches its members how to grow crops in the community, aimed to bring awareness of sustainable farming and eating to students. The group runs the New City Cafe where people can enjoy their fresh produce. 

Avery Smith, a representative from New City Neighbors who attended the in-person showcase event, spoke about the impact it’s had on the surrounding community.

“People from anywhere can come and see we are growing without pesticides and other chemicals,” Smith said. “We can bring fresh food without harming the surrounding environment.”

On top of the classes and community organizations, companies and political groups were in attendance.

The Michigan League of Conservation Voters said in a statement that people should push for legislation that promotes environmental protection. By advocating for political candidates that champion environmental causes, they hope to bring changes for sustainability in Michigan.

Regional Coordinator Wesley Watson spoke on how the organization campaigns to fight against misinformation on several environmental topics. As one of the biggest advocacy groups for sustainability, they hope to bring in more members and supporters to their cause.

“We really try to help people understand why getting people that share these values into offices is so vital,” Watson said.“Without them, there can be no action without governmental help.”