Students make a difference in Environmental Club


The Environmental Club is not only a way to network for a future career in environmental science, but a way to give back to the environment and have fun doing it.
Amanda Hennessy, a senior environmental engineering major, started the club from scratch in an effort to offer an organization for students who were interested in environmental studies and wanted to make a difference in the community.
“The Environmental Club has had a rough history and has been on and off of Gannon’s campus for about 10 years,” said Hennessy, now the club president. “Two years ago, an environmental science major and I restarted the club and completely redid it after it had dissolved in 2012.”
Since its revival, the club has enjoyed many great opportunities to clean and restore parts of Erie’s environment as well as visits to major environmental conservation facilities. Past activities have included cleanup efforts at Presque Isle beaches and Asbury Woods, a trip to the Erie Art Museum to tour its LEED-certified building and view its sustainable features and a march for climate change in downtown Erie.
Courtney Platt, a junior environmental engineering major and head of public relations for the Environmental Club, said the activities the club has been involved in have helped give her get a better idea of what direction she would like to take in her field.
“I have gotten to go places like the landfill and Tom Ridge Center, which is something that I wouldn’t normally do,” Platt said.
“I know I do not want to be involved in landfill services, but I do want to do something that involves field work and different testing, such as soil or water testing, which is what I got to see at the Tom Ridge Center.”
The Environmental Club is also a great way for students interested in environmentally focused careers to meet and network with workers in the field as well as upperclassmen. Anna Barr, a junior environmental engineering major and secretary for the club, said she had a similar experience when she joined and hopes to be able to return the favor.
“There are four of us in the Environmental Club that intern at General Electric and numerous others that have internships elsewhere,” Barr said. “I think sharing these experiences with the younger members can help them prepare for their future internships.”
The Environmental Club’s latest event was a conversation over tea at the Knight Club on Tuesday on the topic of plastic pollution. Sponsored by the Women’s Studies Program and the Center for Social Concerns, the event featured activist Kristal Ambrose, winner of the Bahamas 2014 Environmental Youth Leader Award, bringing awareness to the issue and talking about how students can make a difference.
The event was part of Gannon’s Culture and Climate Change Series, and the Environmental Club plans to come up with projects that will support this theme throughout the year. The purpose of the series, which will include lectures, debates and a film screening, is to put a spotlight on the topic of climate change and create a discussion on campus on what students can do to make a positive impact for the future.
Hennessy said that the club is always looking for new members and anyone interested can contact her or one of the officers for information on how to join and on upcoming events.
“Anyone passionate about the environment should join,” Hennessy said. “You do not have to be a science or engineering major to get involved; we are always looking for people wanting to make a difference.”

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