By Priscila Korb
EcoLeaders – no it’s not the name of a superhero organization, but the new environmental initiative plan starting this semester.

James O’Connor, director of sustainability and transportation and Olena Huffmire Goralchuck, a member of the Sustainability Task Force and an employee at the Transportation Office, are planning on getting more students at Stony Brook University involved through this new initiative group.

According to O’Connor, there will be 20 to 25 representatives who will be recruited from the different groups on campus such as the Undergraduate Student Government, Resident Hall Association, the Environmental Club and more. In addition, students who major in Sustainability Studies and anyone else interested are welcome to apply. The application to become a representative can be filled out online until October 26. Until then, O’Connor and Huffmire Goralchuck will be meeting with different organizations on campus from now until mid-October to inform the groups about this new group.

“For the first year, we are looking to set up an [executive] board so that group would sit it on the task force,” said O’Connor. “Long term, our goal is to educate these groups of students so that they know so much about us and they want to get the message out to other students so they can increase our average. For example, they could help communicate what we do at Earthstock.”

In addition the group will be working on initiatives around campus such as reinvigorating the recycling program around the residence halls to make it easier to recycle and to improve the operating buildings with things like motion detectors on the lights.

“The main reason for this group is to help increase sustainability efforts and continue to [allow a] variety of students to have input,” said O’Connor.

O’Connor admits that the group hasn’t done much advertising yet to tell the students about EcoLeaders. However, O’Connor and Huffmire Goralchuck have already received several applications.

“We’re learning that a lot of students care about the environment and want to participate,” said O’Connor “I don’t expect 200,000 applications, but we are hoping to get at least 50 to 75 applications.”

This new group will allow students who are interested in the environment to bring initiatives to campus. “This is a great opportunity for students to get involved and make a difference.” Huffmire Goralchuck said. “It’s important for everyone to feel like they put something in.”

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