This student run blog reflects writing by students from their own perspectives on topics related to sustainability. It does not reflect the position of the University.
Payton Alaama (he/him/his) is a 5th year Political Science Major Campus as a Living Lab intern based at the UCI Sustainability Resource Center managing the sustainability blog.Payton enjoys exploring new places, hanging out with friends, and reading for leisure.
2021 Sustainival Recap
By Payton Alaama
Published May 7, 2021
The Sustainival is an annual event, hosted by the UCI Sustainability Resource Center (SRC), where campus organizations and departments showcase a variety of sustainability topics and involve students in engaging activities with opportunities to win prizes. Through Sustainival students are able to get a grasp of local sustainability efforts and opportunities to get involved.
Over 170 students, staff and faculty participated in the fifth annual (first virtual) Sustainival to hear from guest speakers and attend virtual booths, learning how to get involved in sustainability efforts at home and on campus.
There were 15 virtual booths representing campus clubs, departments, and community organizations with presentations and activities at each booth. Booth representatives taught students about the different perspectives of sustainability and why, e.g., intersectionality in sustainability is very important.. Aditi Mayer, a sustainability fashion blogger, photojournalist, and labor rights activists, was the keynote speaker at Sustainival. Audrey Sugimoto, a Sustainival attendee, reflected on Aditi’s keynote “Although I have heard this keyword “intersectionality” a couple times before, I never really understood what it entailed.” Aditi spoke about Intersectionality in sustainability and environmentalism which refers to the connections between environmental practices and underrepresented communities, including, Black, Indigenous, Asian, Latino, and other marginalized communities. Aditi stressed the connections between the environmentalist movement with those of the BIPOC community and how successes in just one cannot be achieved without the other.
During Sustainival, students also had the chance to tune into a student leadership panel which included UCI’s Victoria Nguyen, Chapman’s Lexi Hernandez, and Harvard’s Elida Kocharian, all researchers in intersectional sustainability, global sustainability as well as global health and justice. The panel touched on issues of intersectional education, outreach, and relaying sustainability information and issues to children and communities. These forms of outreach to those traditionally left out of sustainability topics allows them to become more involved in the scientific and activist community. “Broaden your outreach…. and making sure everyone is involved in a conversation about science without feeling overwhelmed and without feeling like they can’t be involved because they’re not scientists, whatever that means,” said Elida Kocharian, a panelist. It is our responsibility to become involved and do some form of outreach to the community for us to be able to incorporate climate into our lives and use this intersectional framework.
Sustainability cannot be interpreted in a single lifestyle and sustainability can vary widely across different people’s perspectives. Sustainability cannot mean everyone using public transportation, using reusable materials, or becoming a vegan. Attending the Sustainival and interacting with peers from all walks of life reminded us that sustainability is not an all or nothing kind of lifestyle; much like how we can be intentional in starting new sleeping or eating habits, we can also choose to adopt a sustainable lifestyle simply through the daily habits we take on in our lives.
As Emily Lee, who said she’s seen sustainability as a daunting topic, offered, ”We can also choose to adopt a sustainable lifestyle simply through the daily habits we take on in our lives. Everyone can embark on their own journeys to finding the sustainable practices that fit into their lifestyle.” It’s a matter of finding the steps to take within our lives and understanding what it takes to be sustainable within intersecting systems and structures in our communities.