The Center for Sustainable Climate Solutions (CSCS) recently announced this year’s Campus Climate Ambassadors. At Goshen College, they are Adhika Ezra and Liam Elias.CSCS is an organization formed in partnership between Goshen College, Eastern Mennonite University and Mennonite Central Committee that is working to lead Anabaptists to respond to climate change. Their motto is “climate action equals peacemaking.”
One of CSCS’ main initiatives is supporting a network of climate advocates at Mennonite colleges and universities in the US and Canada.
“Ambassadors promote climate conversations, organize climate-based campus events and help foster connections between environmental groups across Mennonite college campuses,” reads a description on the CSCS website.
But, if you were to ask most students on the Goshen College campus what CSCS stands for, they would not be able to tell you.
Ezra and Elias are working to change that.
“We want to start spreading the word and finding ways that we can build a community of people at Goshen where people know they’re not on their own fighting climate change,” Ezra said.
“We’re trying to take collective action.”
Ezra is a senior studying psychology and sociology. Elias is also a senior and is studying environmental science. Besides representing CSCS, Ezra and Elias both help to lead the Eco-PAX club on campus.
The first CSCS event this year was a joint cookout hosted with the Eco-PAX and Outdoor Pursuits clubs. The cookout focused on the topic of waste.
Elias and Ezra are looking ahead to their next event. The two are planning a watch party for a talk related to climate change from the UN. Afterwards, there will be a UN climate simulation, where people have a chance to play as countries and try to make deals with each other, allowing students to get first-hand experience with the difficulty of making such deals.
In addition to hosting events, CSCS is looking for people who want to get involved and take action on Goshen College’s campus.
“We’re trying to get volunteers to help with composting at the dining hall,” Elias said. “If there’s enough interest, we can apply for composting stations outside the apartments and dorms and maybe even the Leaf Raker. It’s something we’re trying to fix on campus.”
One of CSCS’ main goals is raising awareness about climate issues, and Ezra and Elias have heard some criticism for that.
“People say the problem with talks and marches and protests is that they talk a lot but there’s no action,” Ezra said. But, he added, “Speaking is part of helping others gain awareness and that’s the very first step of action. If the problem is not brought into light, you can’t take action.”
For Ezra, being part of CSCS has helped him feel less alone in the face of the looming climate crisis.
“In the beginning, I was like ‘I’m one person, my actions can’t change anything,’ but now I see that my actions can make a difference just in how they impact the people around me,” he said. “That hopefully creates a ripple effect where your actions impact the community around you in a positive way.”
If students want to get involved with CSCS, they can start by signing up for the Eco-PAX or Outdoor Pursuits clubs. For more information about upcoming CSCS events, check the Communicator.
“We’re encouraging students to be part of the change,” Elias said.
Ezra’s advice: “Start with the small things: your daily behaviors. I learned that once I get involved in organizations like this, I see things that I didn’t see before. Be aware of how Goshen College can do better and bring it up to people.”