Group ~ Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama
The Crop, Soil and Environmental Sciences Club is a student-led organization in the College of Agriculture. Originally, the club’s primary focus was professional development, helping members prepare and make professional connections to advance their careers. In recent years, and based on its foundation in the environmental sciences, the club has broadened and enlarged its mission to take on an educational, activist, and public service mission on behalf of a more sustainable world.
A relevant definition of environmental education is “education in, about, and for the environment.” Education “for” the environment is the aspect most often lacking in environmental education programs. CSES has prioritized education for the environment in its education and public service initiatives.
CSES initiated an outreach program to local elementary schools, creating fun, hands-on experiences for children to help them understand pollution runoff and what they can do about it, and teaching youngsters about healthy soils and how every part of the natural world is connected and supports their wellbeing.
At campus events like the Ag Roundup, Earth Day Extravaganza, and the College of Agriculture Welcome Back Picnic, CSES created hands-on displays on the important functions of soils and the environmental sciences, had a fundraising dunking booth with good-natured professors, handed out wildflower seeds, and more. The club educates on the importance of eliminating food waste, and created a composting system to demonstrate one of the things that can be done about it.
Under the auspices of the Alabama Adopt-A-Stream Program, CSES adopted a portion of Parkerson Mill Creek, which flows through campus. This past year CSES members removed over 400 pounds of trash from the creek. Every summer, the group harvests corn from one of Auburn’s research stations to sell and donate. Last summer, CSES donated close to 1,800 pounds of fresh sweet corn to the East Alabama Food Bank.
And the club continues its professional development work, hosting speakers from government agencies, for-purpose groups, Alabama Cooperative Extension System, and grad student panels, and offers guidance on creating effective resumes and networking efforts for career advancement.
Left to right: Sophia Foliano and Lili Tucker