Mason Students Prepare for Green Experience

Posted: June 30, 2009 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: June 29, 2009 at 11:02 am

By Rashad Mulla

Thirty college students will be going green this summer, literally.

The students will spend a week in Prince William Forest in Triangle, Va., from July 12-19, as part of the Student Training for Environmental Protection Program.

The week-long intensive training program will be led by Colin Bennett, sustainability assistant in the Office of Sustainability. According to Bennett, environmental advocates will speak at the event while student organizers from the United States and Puerto Rico serve as trainers. Fifteen of the program’s 30 available spots were reserved for Mason students.

“The idea is to train students on environmental protection in a peer-to-peer type training atmosphere,” says Bennett. “Students are going to learn from other students about the steps needed to take their passion for environmental issues and put it into action.”

“We want to forge relationships between student environmentalists because there’s definitely strength in numbers, but there’s also strength in diversity.”

The program will focus on academics and skills. In addition, the program will feature intensive all-day workshops. Students can expect to develop skills such as working with the media, lobbying, campaign planning, problem solving and teamwork. All participating students will be expected to possess knowledge of and passion for environmental issues.

There are also other activities built into the program including a trip to Washington, D.C., where students will meet their respective congressional representatives and be given an opportunity to discuss an issue important to them. According to Bennett, this is a quick way to test what the students have learned at the training program.

The program is sponsored by Campus Progress and organized by the Office of Sustainability. Bennett and his colleagues have been planning the event since January and hope to repeat the event next summer.

Write to gazette at gazette@gmu.edu