Goshen College students are often driven by a desire to improve the world. The Ecotiva Collective is the most recent example of this.

Ecotiva, according to José Chiquito Galvan, a third year sustainability studies major and the founder of Ecotiva, is “a group of people who care about ecojustice and making sure that minorities or marginalized communities have a priority in the environmental movement and in emerging green economy.”

Ecotiva is not an official nonprofit as of the date of writing, because the members are still deciding what kind of organization they wish Ecotiva to be. The project was officially launched in late-February.

“Whatever we become, our top priority will not be to make a profit,” Galvan said.

Ecotiva’s current goals are to highlight the voices of marginalized communities in the Midwest and discuss ecojustice, identity and food in the context of these communities, along with inspiring positive action with regards to the environment.

Currently, Ecotiva has the podcast “Ecotiva Radio,” which Galvan hopes will be joined by other multimedia platforms. There are currently two episodes available. The most recent episode, “De Chicago to the Midwest,” was released on March 18 and can be found on Ecotiva’s Facebook page or at Ecotiva.org/ecotivaradio.

Galvan created Ecotiva out of a personal desire to bring together his passions for ecojustice, collaboration, community and his home region. “These were all important to me and knew that there had to be a team that could help me envision and build something stronger than I could do on my own,” Galvan said.

Galvan stated that, in an era of green economies and the Green New Deal, Ecotiva wishes to ensure that marginalized groups are not an afterthought. Instead, Ecotiva wants to help marginalized groups be at the forefront of ecojustice and environmentalism. The starting point for this goal is Ecotiva Radio.

“Our GC peers, friends, and professors have been incredibly supportive. Either by commending us on a job well done, listening, or providing invaluable guidance and resources,” Galvan explained.

Mandira Panta, a junior sustainability studies major at Goshen College, has always cared deeply about the environment. Just a couple of weeks ago, Panta received recognition as the second-place winner of the Goshen College C. Henry Smith Peace Oratorical Contest for a speech based on climate change. Panta’s speech from the prior year’s contest was on the importance of recognizing colorism, or discrimination based upon how dark one’s skin is.

Panta is also involved with Ecotiva Collective, working on the podcast. Ecotiva combines multiple things she is passionate about.

“I got involved when Jose talked to me about his whole idea,” she said.

Panta said that being involved in Ecotiva has been interesting for her, because Ecotiva focuses specifically on the environment and climate change’s effects in the Midwest, as opposed to the environment and climate change in general. “Focusing only on Midwest is challenging to me, and it has been a huge learning curve,” Panta said. She does, however, believe this to be a valuable aspect of the project, one that will allow it to tackle serious issues that affect people in the local community.

Others involved with Ecotiva Collective include GC student Samantha Camacho, and Goshen locals Alexa Gonzalez and Marbella Chavez. Ecotiva’s leaders are hoping to expand the club’s reach in the near future.

“Hopefully, we will continue to find ways to include people directly in the work we are doing,” Panta said.

Students who wish to support Ecotiva or keep up with it can listen to and subscribe to Ecotiva Radio on Spotify or Stitcher. Galvan also recommends students like Ecotiva’s Facebook and Instagram accounts and share their posts to help spread awareness. Anyone with questions can email ecotiva at info@ecotiva.org.