Elizabeth Joseph '08
What have you learned as a member of the UNH Organic Garden Club?
I have learned how hard it is to grow your own food! Especially to do so in a way that does not compromise the integrity of the soil, animals, plants, people, and collectively the land. I’ve witnessed the abundant harvest that results from such hard work, rooted in a vision that seeks to nourish, serve, and sustain the local community. Finally, I’ve learned that many women and men are dissatisfied and angry about our culture’s relationship to our environment especially the damage caused by our mainstream system of food production. In response, I’ve seen a desire and passion to challenge those systems and cultivate a movement towards a more prolific future.
What is the RENU Program at UNH, and why is it so important?
UNH-RENU (Recycling Everything New/ Used) is an independent and volunteer-based community organization. At the end of each academic year RENU collects new and used clothing, as well as unopened, nonperishable food, in all of the dorms and on-campus apartments. Thanks to the efforts of those who recycled and volunteered, in 2008 we collected 245 bags of clothing (about 5000 pounds) and 4800 pounds of food that may have otherwise been thrown away. The recycled items were donated to Cornucopia Food Pantry, Crossroads House, and Operation Blessing, among other places. RENU’s vision is to reduce as much “waste” at the end of the year as possible, to generate awareness about the impact of individuals on the environment, and to support the local community through our efforts.
What motivates you personally to be involved in sustainability?
The beauty and hope that blooms from the people around me and the ground we stand on. The knowledge that my everyday choices -- speech, votes, diet, purchases, mobility, and so forth -- carry tremendous weight for both myself and the larger community. And finally the belief that we have the intellect, insight, and resources to move in a better direction and make the transition that these times demand of us.