By Danielle Sposato
Professor Lauren Sassenoff’s College 101 class during the fall of 2014 created a service learning project called “Purify Your Mind” to promote sustainability on campus. The “Purify Your Mind” motto created by the class has now grown on campus, and is being used to promote sustainability among students.
The service learning projects can be ways to improve campus life, or to improve life outside of campus, like the environment. Students must find a theme for their service learning project to create a concrete plan for what they desire to accomplish.
The campus Sustainability Committee is trying to incorporate ways that freshman can promote going green through their College 101 classes, according to Sassenoff, a Professor of English. “Our College 101 class carried [out] an original idea that will hopefully pave the way [for] other aspects of sustainability, as well as awareness about sustainability on LIU Post’s campus,” Sassenoff said.
Although “recycle, reuse, and refresh” is a familiar mantra, the awareness of sustainability needs to be spread among students. The Sustainability Committee, composed of students, faculty and staff, promotes sustainability on campus, and has been helping with the service learning projects.
Sassenoff, along with the peer mentor for her College 101 course, Stephanie Frobin, a junior Psychology major, asked the students in their class to find a few facts about how Post maintains sustainability.
“Most of the facts were about how Post [has] clean water and filtered water fountains,” Sassenoff said. This assignment made the students become more intrigued with the idea of promoting sustainability more efficiently.
“As they found out more information from myself and Professor Sassenoff, they [seemed] more ready to be[come] involved. They were very interested in the activities we would be doing,” Frobin said.
Sassenoff and Frobin contacted William Achnitz, Campus Life Coordinator, who is a member of the Sustainability Committee. Achnitz has been sought out several times by several College 101 instructors after the addition of service learning projects to the College 101 curriculum.
Sustainability is a common theme chosen for these projects, according to Achnitz. With the assistance of Achnitz, Sassenoff made maintaining sustainability on campus the service learning project for her College 101 class; this partnership became the basis for “Purify Your Mind.”
Achnitz assisted with the creation of design for promotional buttons distributed on campus. “Purify Your Mind” is meant to educate students as well as faculty and staff of how one can maintain sustainability. “Many people who see the buttons often stop and ask the meaning behind them. This campaign often inform[s] people of how many ways Post wants to remain environmentally friendly and continue to remain friendly for the future,” Sassenoff added.
“Purify Your Mind” is not only a slogan for sustainability, it is also a motto students can live by. The goal of “Purify Your Mind” is to “make yourself knowledgeable, take action for yourself and your well-being,” Sassenoff said.
Frobin added that it is a way to encourage people to rid themselves of actions that are harmful to the environment, and learn how to make the community better. “It spreads to using less paper, refilling water bottles, and help keeping our campus clean,” she said.
As part of the “Purify Your Mind” project, Sassenoff, Frobin, and the College 101 students planted a crepe myrtle tree outside Suffolk Hall on Nov. 25, 2014.
“Since we live in a digital age where most people go online in order to learn about issues involving our environment,” Sassenoff said, “our class decided to spread environmental awareness the old fashioned way: go outside and become one with nature.”
Planting a tree directly ties into the goal of the “Purify Your Mind” by creating “physical awareness for students to create physical awareness about the environment literally surrounding them,” Sassenoff said. “Purify Your Mind” buttons are still being distributed on campus. “The College 101 students responsible for coming up with this idea have been key figures by handing out buttons, directing other students to where they can learn more about sustainability, and raising awareness about being the first group of students to help create this campaign, as well as plant a tree on campus,” Sassenoff said.