The Purdue Student Sustainability Council (PSSC) hosted the Purdue Sustainability Summit last Sunday. Andrew Huang, PSSC member and senior in the College of Engineering, came up with the idea for the summit and organized it with the help of fellow PSSC members.
Huang modeled the summit after a similar event conducted by Lindsey Paine, assistant director for service, when she was a graduate student at Purdue University in ecological sciences and engineering. Discussion from Paine’s summit resulted in a report containing recommendations for Purdue to improve sustainability on campus. Huang took the basic idea of Paine’s event and designed much of the summit’s structure from events he had attended in the Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering.
PSSC acts as an umbrella group for various sustainability groups on campus. Huang and his colleagues at PSSC wanted to improve dialogue between clubs associated with PSSC. “We thought that this event would bring forth the student voice regarding sustainability and can help mold and shape and help start the discussion on sustainability here at Purdue,” Huang said.
The event opened with an introduction from Michael Gulich, director of campus master planning and sustainability. Then, attendees split up to attend various small group sessions with topics such as sustainability research and local government involvement. After lunch, there was a brainstorming session. The event concluded with remarks from Sheila Klinker, State Representative from District 27.
Huang said that there was originally going to be only one event, but PSSC eventually decided to split the event into two. The Purdue Sustainability Summit was geared towards Purdue students and faculty. The other summit, the Midwest Sustainability Summit, will occur on Oct. 22. Many Big Ten universities, such as Indiana University and University of Michigan, will send students to the Midwest Sustainability Summit. Some schools outside the Big Ten, such as Butler University and IUPUI, will also send representatives. Huang said he wanted the Purdue University Summit to prepare sustainability groups on campus for the Midwest Sustainability Summit.
“For us, it’s really just trying to connect these voices,” Huang said.