Club Spotlight: Planting seeds for change with LEAF
Photo Courtesy of Emily Sauchelli
Leaders for Environmental Action and Fellowship (LEAF), one of Hofstra’s newest clubs, is aimed at creating a space where students can be advocates, create environmental action and be leaders for environmental justice on campus.
“This club is a chance for students to have a platform to educate and create lasting change,” said junior sustainability and global studies major Caroline Bowes, president of LEAF.
Environmental clubs have come and gone at Hofstra, with many not being able to stay active. LEAF is one of the current initiatives to make a positive environmental change at Hofstra, as many students feel there is not enough being done on campus to see a positive environmental impact.
“The last club that was environmentally involved at Hofstra was the Sustainability Studies club, and that has been de-recognized by SGA. In my right mind, I could not give up the opportunity to create a club that will involve a lot more action,” Bowes said.
Before the Sustainability Studies club was formed, Students for a Greener Hofstra was the environmentally-active club on campus that has since been disbanded. Now, LEAF is looking to build a stronger, more action-oriented club for students and the surrounding community as a whole.
When the Sustainability Studies club disbanded last semester, Bowes, the club’s former vice president, took it upon herself to form a new club that had similar roots to the past ones, but with improvements. She held a forum a few weeks ago to gauge interest from students and faculty on what the next steps were for creating a new club.
With a desire for green efforts to start up around campus, LEAF aims to be a leader of change. “I think the number one priority for this club should be sustained events and realistic goals for solutions. Having new faces in the room while these conversations about changing Hofstra take place is also a priority, but having a committed e-board with a few events and meetings each semester and keeping expectations for changes on Hofstra’s campus realistic, is the component that I think many clubs in the past may have missed,” Bowes said.
LEAF’s executive board members got involved because of their passions for protecting the environment and our planet. LEAF’s entire e-board is comprised of women, which creates a positive impact on women in science, technology, engineering and math fields. Almost all of the women major or minor in science fields such as sustainability, geology, geographic information systems and meteorology.
“I decided to get involved in LEAF because growing up in Colorado, I’ve been exposed to the beauty of nature at a very young age. It breaks my heart to see the negative impacts that human development has on not only my local community, but all around the world,” said Janet Tran, a junior geology and geographic information systems major and vice president of LEAF.
Many members were inspired to join because of their desire to create change on campus. “I decided to join LEAF because it is finally time to see change happen at Hofstra. With the climate declining and a now or never clock ticking, it is time to take action in all parts of life,” said sophomore neuroscience major Rebecca Bero, treasurer of LEAF.
“Hofstra students are passionate about a variety of issues, including those relating to the environment. LEAF will take the lead in raising awareness about key issues impacting us on both the large scale (e.g. climate change) and smaller scale (e.g. reducing plastic usage on campus). For the latter in particular, LEAF can help enact positive change on campus and in the local community,” said Jase Bernhardt, professor of geology, environment and sustainability and advisor of LEAF.
With the inception of this organization, the members are hoping for growth and action to come out of their club. “My primary hope for this club is to increase awareness of sustainability and the environment at Hofstra by creating a safe and comfortable space where people can come and enjoy themselves while becoming more environmentally conscious,” said junior geology and sustainability studies major Paola Lopez Rodriguez, secretary of LEAF.
LEAF will have its first meeting on Wednesday, May 1, at 7 p.m. in Gittleson Hall room 162. The agenda includes discussing sustainability initiatives that can be enacted on Hofstra’s campus, as well as brainstorming for future events and projects so they can start to make a positive impact on the campus in the upcoming school year.
“I joined because of my passion for sustainability and the environment, so when I found out LEAF was going to be created I thought [that] this would be the place where I can put that passion,” said junior sustainability and global studies major, Hajar Kaim, LEAF’s public relations and events chair. “Attending the inaugural meeting, seeing people who share that same passion, hearing and being part of the discussions, my initial thought about the creation of LEAF was reaffirmed, and I’m very excited for what we will achieve.”