A response to last week’s column questioning the symposium
Recently in The Concordian Zach Lipp wrote about his experience with the Sustainability Symposium and how frustrating it is to be confronted with a global problem without a clear solution in sight. And those who attended the opening session with Dr. Orr were left with more questions than answers about the process of transforming our society into becoming more sustainable. I also felt disheartened at the scope and scale of cataclysmic climate change. In face of almost certain collapse of the environment: what could we possibly do to make a difference?
That’s where I think the symposium lets us down. We are taught about an issue and why it should matter to us, but we don’t have a productive way to channel our energy toward solving that issue. Or at least most of us don’t seek a channel out. This is where we as Concordia students need to be active and engaged to make a difference in the world. Luckily, efforts to enrich the world can start on the local level. Right now I have an internship with Minnesota Private Interest Research Group. MPIRG’s purpose as stated by their website is “…to articulate and pursue through the media, the institutions of government, the courts and other legal means the concerns of students on issues of general public interest.” This is an organization lead by student interests that is acting to create change here in Minnesota. The most recent endeavor taken up by MPIRG is having people sign support cards for Governor Dayton after he announced his willingness to increase Minnesota’s renewable energy standard to 40 percent by 2030.
The organizations and institutions that want to create change are out there, and by seeking out opportunities and being proactive anyone can do their part in solving a global problem. The symposium may be more discouraging than inspiring, especially when dealing with issues like genocide and devastating climate change, and I fully understand that. That being said, I want to raise the bar for Concordia students. It’s not enough to be aware of issues. The next step is action, and we are all called to action. If an outlet is what you need, the “pending” student organization Cobbers for the Common Interest will be having an interest meeting Oct. 14 at 6:30 p.m. in the KCC meeting room next to the campus post office.