By Leah Marron
The Environmental Club has made a comeback at Daemen University after about a two-year pause and has a lot planned for the coming semesters.
The club was founded more than 10 years ago when students approached Dr. Brenda Young, the club’s faculty advisor and chair of global and local sustainability, about forming the group. However, in the midst of COVID-19, the club was shut down for the time being.
Last year, Cadence Russell, a second-year natural sciences major with a focus in environmental science, was approached by faculty members who asked if she would be interested in restarting the organization.
Russell responded, “I started the environmental club of my high school; I’ll restart it again.”
“It’s kind of been a rebuilding year,” Russell said. “I really hope as these semesters go on we can make a very stable club on campus that people see [and] know what to expect from.”
Every Wednesday, the club meets in DS 212 at 7 p.m. Any student enrolled at Daemen is welcome to attend a meeting if they are interested in joining.
At one of the club’s most recent meetings, Oct. 12, Russell, now serving her second year as president, ran the meeting. Since being reintroduced, the club had to update their bylaws.
Within the bylaws is their statement of purpose. One aspect of their mission is to, “connect students in a special interest organization to promote environmental action, participation and conservation,” which they fulfill through the events they plan.
The club’s goal has been to “diversify” their events, Russell said. On Oct. 18, they had a speaker from the Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper.
On Nov. 4, the club hosted a cleanup on the Daemen Ecotrail. “The leaves are changing, so it looks very pretty,” Russell said.
The Environmental Club, along with other natural science organizations, will be hosting a TGIF Nov. 18. They will be serving pasta and salad, free to all Daemen students.
This is “Environmental Club’s first TGIF [since the revival], so we are excited about that,” Russell said.
The club is anticipating a spring full of fun things, as “spring is perfect Environmental Club time,” Russell said. The spring semester includes Earth Day and Arbor Day, which is now annually celebrated here at Daemen.
Arbor Day celebrates the act of planting trees as they are vital to the condition of our environment. Daemen is one of the 23 higher education tree campuses recognized in New York state for meeting and maintaining certain standards.
Last year, Daemen became an Arbor Day Tree Campus. “We have an ongoing commitment every year to have an activity around Arbor Day, which tends to be the last weekend in April,” Young said.
Even when the club is not planning for a big event, they still hold something for the members.
“Every other week we do a homework kind of meeting; we all meet and watch a documentary and you can do your homework,” said the secretary of the club, Addriena Bradley, a fourth-year global and local sustainability major.
For any student who is thinking about joining a club but doesn’t want to make a big commitment, the Environmental Club is “free-flowing” and “relaxed,” Russell said. “We know people are busy,” she said. They hold homework meetings “for people to come learn about a new place in the world, do your homework and be around other people.”
“We all have the same kind of interests of bettering the environment and just being outdoors,” said Bradley.
Bradley expressed that the club has taught her to work “with people of different backgrounds. We have a really diverse group, people from a bunch of different majors.”
No matter how extensive a student’s passion for the environment may be, Dr. Young recommends getting involved, “It can be anything from wanting to go on a nature hike with other students, to wanting to do cleanups, plant a tree [or] wanting to educate others about climate change.”
To learn more about the Environmental Club, visit the organization’s page on Daemen Connect.