By Helena Kilburn
Sustainability is an important concept for many Sewanee student groups – at least, for the Sewanee groups who focus on it. But what about those that are focused on different topics? There are so many different incredible clubs, organizations, and associations on campus, all of which demonstrate the strong leadership capabilities of Sewanee students. One such organization is the Student Government Association (SGA).
Student Government Associations are present at many universities and are notable for many reasons, but especially because they give the student body the opportunity to elect their student leaders. At Sewanee, the elected president of the SGA is Mac Bouldin (C’19).
It is important to understand how all organizations on campus feel about sustainability, and since SGA reflects the student body in as much as the election process allows, it is especially important to know the views on sustainability from the SGA president.
As an elected SGA senator during his first year at Sewanee, Bouldin continued to serve in the SGA until he was elected as president for his senior year. As a politics major, he has never taken any environmental classes within his major, but as SGA president he has some important experiences and views that relate to the subject.
Recently, Bouldin has worked with the Socially Conscious Investment Club (SoCo) in order to draft and pass a resolution endorsing transparency in regards to the University’s endowment. He was initially skeptical, thinking that it was more of an activist issue rather than a matter for SGA.
However, after attending a SoCo meeting and speaking with people from the group, he felt that “it was clear that sustainability is a key part of our institutional identity.”
Bouldin became both willing and enthusiastic to work on this issue with SoCo, including SoCo leaders Jackson Campbell (C’20) and Wilder McCoy (C’20), because he was so impressed with the well thought out initiative they were leading. Bouldin even expressed that “it could be a model for student initiatives for a variety of issues.”
He feels transparency is an important cause, saying “it’s not just about saving the planet, the environment, or even sustainability itself… it’s about deciding who we are as an institution, a community, and a school.”
SGA often partners with student initiatives, events and programs that have to do with environmental stewardship and sustainability. Bouldin expressed his appreciation of these groups saying “there are so many good student groups out there working on these issues that we have not been forced to take on these issues alone.” He expressed that SGA has been very happy to partner with these existing organizations .
As a student leader, Bouldin feels that sustainability is about reflecting on who we are and not about a political stance saying, “I think it’s important for anyone anywhere to consider their impact on the environment around them, but it is especially important in a place that benefits so much from the natural world.”