“My Blackness Is the Beauty and Complexity of the Galaxy”: A Poem by Sullivan Award Winner Shalonté Branham

Shalonté Branham, winner of the 2019 Mary Mildred Sullivan Award at Sullivan Foundation partner school Bellarmine University, graduated this spring with a double major in Political Science and Sociology, but she has also a gift for powerful and evocative poetry. In the following video posted in February 2018 on the Bellarmine website, she reads from her poem, “Blackness.” The full text of the poem follows:

My blackness is the child of the sun and moon
when they made desperate love at dusk and dawn.

It can be found in grandmamma’s molasses and brown sugar cookies
Living in the dark rich earth.
sprouting black women strong and thick like oak trees.
It is the ancient power
passed down from Yemoja, Oshun, Shango, Obatala.

My blackness is the beauty and complexity of the galaxy.

My blackness was present at the crux of creation and continuation of humanity.

You see…
My essence is the universe.

I am life in motion
GOD in flesh
I am everything
My blackness is everything
Everything, BUT… a weapon.
I said my blackness is not a weapon!
it is not a threat!
it is not a possession!

And you cannot destroy it.

It can’t be killed,
no matter how many bullets you fire at it.
And it won’t be muzzled,
no matter how hard your fingers press to suppress her screams of injustice.
No matter how many times it is thrown on the ground, handcuffed, and beaten it will rise like Phoenix and explode into a Supernova!

It is persistent and mighty.

BUT your ignorance and intimidation does not create the invitation
to kill me
to silence me
to bind me
or deny me my human dignity because it was bestowed by the Most High.

My blackness– OUR blackness has the ability to shatter these spaces
prisons and
chains with ferocity!

And maybe when you look at me,
you become deathly aware of your own mortality and try to conquer it with your savagery…
It will be here when this all comes to an end and it will still be here when this world begins once again because our power
our brilliance
our excellence
our magic
OUR BLACKNESS was born from the sun and the mood between the sheets of the milky way

It is Infinite!
It is splendid!
It is divine!
And it will always stay!

Bellarmine University Recognizes Two Graduating Seniors With Prestigious Sullivan Awards

Dr. Susan Donovan, the president of Bellarmine University personally presented a pair of students recently with the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award and the Mary Mildred Sullivan Award in recognition of their service to their fellow students and the university. The awards rank among the highest honors accorded to Bellarmine students each year.

Shalonté Branham, a graduating senior with a double major in Political Science and Sociology, received the Mary Mildred Sullivan Award, while the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award went to Noah McDonell, a student enrolled in the university’s five-year MBA program with an Innovation Emphasis.

Dr. Susan Donovan, president of Bellarmine University, presents the Mary Mildred Sullivan Award to Shalonte Branham.

Branham, who plans to enlist in the U.S. Armed Forces upon graduation, served as a Residence Life Academic Peer Advocate, helping her fellow students adjust to the challenges and demands of college life. “Shalonté is incredibly bright and engaging,” said Dr. Helen Grace Ryan, Bellarmine’s Vice President of Student Affairs. “She’s always ready to contribute to class discussion, and her writing is thoughtful and provocative, so it’s no surprise that she assists her peers on campus as a writing consultant.”

Ryan added that Branham is “a relentless advocate for her peers, particularly students of color. One of her professors commented that, while in attendance at many campus events, Shalonté’s contributions helped shift the perspectives of those in the room. She is a force … someone who wholeheartedly supports the people around her while also pushing them to do better. Her approach is filled with patience, humor and an embodied commitment to seeing the best in people. She represents the strength of character required for this award.”

Noah McDonell accepts the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award from Bellarmine president Dr. Susan Donovan.

McDonell, an Eagle Scout, “has an excellent record for service work,” Ryan noted. He started a literacy program called “Readers Make Leaders” and has helped more than 1,000 at-risk children through the project since 2014. He has participated in projects such as the Bellarmine Cinema Association Cathedral of the Assumption Bologna Alley Soup Kitchen. He served as vice president of Omicron Delta Kappa, vice president and treasurer of the Bellarmine Cinema Association, and a Peer Leader in the Better Together Interfaith Youth Core Team. “Noah has also worked while being a student at Bellarmine, gaining experience in marketing, digital and media projects and sales,” Ryan added.

Bellarmine began offering the Sullivan Awards in 2014 to two graduating seniors whose “nobility of character and dedication to service set them apart as examples to others.” Nominated for the awards by faculty, staff or peers, the recipients receive bronze medallions and certificates.

Sullivan Foundation Seeks Student Ambassadors for 2019-2020 School Year

College students with a passion for service can help build a culture of changemaking on their campuses with the Sullivan Ambassador Program this fall.

The Algernon Sydney Sullivan Foundation is looking to recruit Student Ambassadors for 2019-2020 at colleges and universities in the Sullivan network across the American Southeast. Applications will be accepted through June 8, 2019.

Sullivan Ignite Retreat facilitator Harrison Wood (Photo by Amber Merklinger, Amber Faith Photography)

The role of a Student Ambassador includes:

  • Strengthening your school’s changemaking community—These students will represent the Sullivan Foundation brand and market to and recruit students for Sullivan programs, such as the twice-yearly Social Entrepreneurship Field Trips and the twice-yearly Ignite Retreats. They will also design and execute their own Student Ambassador Projects to bring the Sullivan experience to their campuses and/or communities. Projects might include launching a Social Entrepreneurship Club; creating club or organization events on their campuses; supporting student projects related to service or social entrepreneurship; or arranging speaking engagements for a Sullivan facilitator or an experienced social entrepreneur. Student Ambassadors can win up to $500 to be applied toward their projects.
  • Share the Sullivan Foundation story via social media—Student Ambassadors will coordinate one #CampusTakeover of the Sullivan Foundation’s social media accounts, including Instagram and Facebook, per semester. They will also use the foundation’s social media accounts to share occasional updates and/or newsworthy stories and photos related to their school’s service and social entrepreneurship projects and activities.
  • Build connections with fellow Student Ambassadors and social entrepreneurs—The Sullivan Ambassador Program will create a network of Sullivan-affiliated changemakers on campuses across the region. Student Ambassadors can join virtual chat groups and monthly virtual video calls to stay up-to-date on fellow changemakers’ projects, build relationships and get support from students on other campuses, and meet and learn from experienced changemakers in the Sullivan Speakers’ Bureau.

Serving as a Sullivan Student Ambassador creates educational and networking opportunities for student changemakers that extend far beyond their own campuses. Click here to fill out an application or learn more by contacting Harrison Wood at harrison@sullivanfdn.org or 256-683-0791.

Sullivan Spring Ignite Retreat, Faculty Summit Provide “Immensely Valuable Experience”

The Sullivan Foundation attained new heights of success in its educational programming in April, with the Spring 2019 Ignite Retreat for college students and the Faculty/Staff Summit drawing the largest attendance in both events’ history.

The Spring Ignite Retreat, held April 5-7, was a sold-out hit, attracting nearly 100 students and aspiring changemakers from across the Sullivan network of partner schools for a weekend of workshops and activities focused on social entrepreneurship and changemaking. Held concurrently with the retreat, the Sullivan Faculty/Staff Summit saw its attendance double over last year, becoming the most successful event of its kind thus far.

During the Spring Ignite Retreat, a team of skilled facilitators led students through a variety of workshops in three educational tracks, including tracks for those just beginning their social entrepreneurial journey, those who had already chosen a set of social challenges they wanted to address, and those who had a specific social venture in mind. Students also had the opportunity to pitch their projects to experienced social entrepreneurs, connect with Sullivan alumni and get access to Sullivan scholarship funding.

“The retreat was an entirely wholesome experience that caused me to deeply appreciate the fruits which can be cultivated if young people who genuinely care collectively focus on emotional intelligence and personal development,” said attendee Jonathan Molai, a senior majoring in pre-med biology at Campbell University. “In its ability to develop both hard and soft skills pertaining to social entrepreneurship, the Ignite Retreat kindled my passion for the subject even more than I had imagined. I deeply appreciate the students, exercises and facilitators as they laid the foundation and helped reconstruct the framework for lifelong personal growth in such a short period of time. Such an immensely valuable experience is rare.”

April’s Ignite Retreat attracted the largest-ever crowd for a spring retreat event. (Photo by Amber Merklinger, Amber Faith Photography)

The Faculty/Staff Summit provides university and college faculty an exceptional professional development opportunity that promotes deeper understanding of the social innovation and entrepreneurship community while deepening peer relationships. “I’ve been an educator for 20 years, and I searched for innovative, effective and productive ways in which to educate students while also inspiring them to direct their positive energy to better their communities,” said Rich Meagher, director of social entrepreneurship at Randolph-Macon College. “The Sullivan Foundation, through its Faculty/Staff Summit and Ignite Retreat events, has opened my students’ eyes and hearts to a new world of community service, specifically business-centric activities that solve problems and are sustainable. Many of my students now see their career options and life paths in a very different way!”

The Sullivan Foundation will host a second Ignite Retreat in the fall. The event will take place Oct. 18-20 in Asheville, N.C. For more information, visit sullivanfdn.org/events, call 662-236-6335 or email Ignite Retreat organizer Spud Marshall at spud@sullivanfdn.org.

Harrison Wood leads a workshop at the Spring 2019 Ignite Retreat. (Photo by Amber Merklinger, Amber Faith Photography)

Rollins College’s Department of Social Entrepreneurship Honors 12 Students With Awards

As the 2018-19 term comes to an end at Sullivan Foundation partner school Rollins College, the Department of Social Entrepreneurship (SE) recognized a dozen student changemakers for their achievements and innovations in April.

Rollins’ internationally recognized program offered the first SE major in the world to be accredited by AACSB-International, the highest-quality standard for global business education. Dr. Tonia Warnecke, the George D. and Harriet W. Cornell Chair of Social Entrepreneurship at Rollins College, and Professor Josephine Balzac-Arroyo, an assistant professor of social entrepreneurship, presented the awards and shared details about the winners with the Sullivan Foundation:

Social Entrepreneurs of the Year
Brittany Chaney (left, with Professor Warnecke):
A social entrepreneurship major involved in multiple nonprofits, Brittany founded FosterU, a a social venture that helps foster youth better their lives through technology and education. Brittany won first place in the Rollins College Ideas for Good pitch competition this spring and was a regional finalist in the Hult Prize global competition for social venture startups.

Charles Bonker and Professor Balzac-Arroyo

Charles Bonker: A senior majoring in social entrepreneurship, Charles was a junior in high school when he founded Cranberry Lake Technologies, which sold used books on Amazon.com and employed people like himself with autism and other special needs. He later co-founded Love Your Neighbor Books, a benefit corporation that collects book donations for partner organization Opportunity, Community, Ability (OCA), which resells the books on Amazon. Like Cranberry Lake Technologies, Love Your Neighbor Books provides jobs for people with special needs. With the help of Rollins’ Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship Hub, Bonker and his team conducted a book drive last year that brought in thousands of books for OCA.


Kinsley Gerks and Professor Balzac-Arroyo

Kinsley Gerks: A social entrepreneurship minor, Kinsley is the former CEO of In the Spotlight Events. She is the co-founder and chief marketing officer of BatterEASE, a social enterprise formed as a for-profit and non-profit hybrid. BatterEASE provides customizable, upcycled batteries that effectively harness renewable energy and help address energy poverty, which impacts 1.2 billion people around the world. BatterEASE was a regional Hult Prize winner. Accepted into the Rally Social Enterprise Accelerator, the company recently pitched and won $10,000. The company already has established partnerships and contracts, requiring Gerks to play dual roles—as both social entrepreneur and student.



Hannah Jackson and Professor Warnecke

Changemaker in Action Awards
Hannah Jackson:
Hannah, an SE major, has demonstrated considerable leadership in changemaking efforts on campus. She has served as social events chair for EMBARK, which supports and mentors 40-plus underrepresented students, and as secretary of the Black Student Union. She also has been a facilitator at the Emerging Leadership Institute, a weekend retreat for first- and second-year students that helps them enhance their social, personal and leadership skills. Among other community activities, Hannah volunteers at Killarney Elementary School and leads activities for kindergarten students.



Kalese Justice and Professor Balzac-Arroyo

Kalese Justice: Kalese is an SE major and Bonner Scholar and a UNCF scholarship recipient. In 2017 she received the Rollins Emerging Leader of the Year Award. She has coordinated numerous community immersions with the Center for Leadership & Community Engagement as a student coordinator and has been actively engaged with various nonprofits around the Orlando community through the Bonner Scholar program.





Arianna Montrose and Professor Balzac-Arroyo

Arianna Montrose: Arianna is an SE major with a minor in communications. In 2017 she was named the Boys and Girls Club Florida Youth of the Year. She is a Global Social Impact intern for Tupperware, the community chair for EMBARK, and vice president of the Black Student Union.




Leading Change Awards

Tatiana Fagen and Professor Balzac-Arroyo

Tatiana Fagan: Tatiana is an SE major and 3/2 student who will pursue her MBA at Rollins’ Crummer Graduate School of Business. She is a student ambassador for the Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship Hub and has been extremely active with the Hub, hosting and coordinating numerous events. In her biggest achievement at the Hub, Tatiana was one of the lead organizers and coordinators for the Rethinking Fashion event, which highlights clothing companies that practice ethical and environmental sustainability. This year’s event was elevated to an entirely new level and was a huge hit.



Matias Meirelles van der Vliet and Professor Tonia Warnecke

Matias Meirelles Van Vliet: Matias, who minors in SE, has worked with the Social Entrepreneurship & Innovation Hub since 2016 in a variety of capacities—as a marketing assistant, organizer of Ideas for Good, and on other projects. He helped spark fellow students’ interest in starting social enterprises by cofounding BatterEASE and working for that company for more than a year. He also worked to start an impact investing student club on campus. Abroad, he has spread the ideals of SE by interning at Ashoka and Sistema B, focusing on social impact metrics.





Ryan Abronski and Professor Warnecke

Ryan Abronski: Whether organizing the Ideas for Good pitch competition, leading a successful book drive on campus, or coordinating multiple student ambassadors at the Hub, Ryan is dedicated to social entrepreneurship and strives every day to apply the tools and insights he has learned through the SE major to his work outside the classroom.

Reed Andary and Professor Warnecke

Reed Andary: Whether staffing the SE table at Changemaker Day or the R-Compass Fair, or attending lunch with a faculty candidate, Reed, an SE major, always shows enthusiasm for getting involved and being an ambassador for the SE program.  He came up with the idea of founding an SE Student Advisory Board to provide guidance to the SE department and spread awareness across campus about social entrepreneurship. He helped to select a founding group for the advisory board, and broader calls for participation will come next year.



Maxim Zarudnyy and Professor Warnecke

Maxim Zaruddny: An SE major and longtime advocate for SE on the Rollins campus, Maxim organized the Hult Pitch competition at Rollins; provided significant behind-the-scenes support to BatterEASE as they prepared for the Hult Regional Finals last year; and will serve on the SE Student Advisory Board in the fall.  Off campus, he supported the social enterprise Ideas for Us with project management.

Outstanding Academic
Carlye Goldman: An SE major with a Global Health minor, Carlye was a candidate for the Fulbright Scholarship and is currently interning at the Edible Education Experience (EEE). Carlye recently began the process of officially making EEE a community partner of the school. She was previously an ESL teacher and will work this summer with a nonprofit in Patagonia and teach English in Colombia. With the highest GPA of all of the SE graduating seniors, she’s a stellar student, truly one of a kind, and we couldn’t be prouder of her.

Slideshow: Scenes from the Spring 2019 Ignite Retreat!

Who knew changing the world could be so much fun? Coming up next: The Fall 2019 Retreat, Oct. 18-20, in Asheville, N.C.!

Televergence Joins Sullivan Foundation as Corporate Partner for Faculty/Staff Fellowship, Summit

The Algernon Sydney Sullivan Foundation recently welcomed telecommunications company Televergence as a corporate partner in its programming and events for emerging servant leaders at colleges and universities across the American South.

The Nashville-headquartered Televergence will provide support for the Sullivan Faculty/Staff Fellowship Program, a three-year fellowship for higher-education faculty and staff from across the Foundation’s network of partner schools, and the annual Sullivan Faculty/Staff Summit.

Each year the Sullivan Foundation selects eight faculty from across its network of schools to participate in the Faculty Fellowship. During this time, the faculty are mentored and supported by the Foundation and tasked with developing, in detail, a particular social innovation and entrepreneurship project they will incorporate into new or existing classes and community initiatives.

The Sullivan Foundation also hosts the annual Faculty/Staff Summit, a professional development opportunity that offers participants a deeper understanding of the social innovation and entrepreneurship community. Participants leave with useful tools and ideas that can be directly applied to their campuses and classrooms.

The most recent Faculty/Staff Summit, held in early April, was one of the largest in the foundation’s history, with more than 50 participants representing colleges and universities throughout the American South and beyond.

“Televergence is committed to supporting higher education in the southern U.S., and we particularly appreciate the Sullivan Foundation’s commitment to servant leadership and social entrepreneurship,” said Televergence CEO Deb Ward. “College and university faculty and staff are the backbone of our higher-education system. We are excited to sponsor their work and research in social innovation and entrepreneurship as Sullivan Fellows.”

Televergence is a 30-plus-year, nationwide telecommunications company that provides premium, all-calls-connect inbound toll-free and outbound long-distance service to companies with high call volumes and/or in house contact centers. Televergence’s wholesale purchasing power, with companies such as AT&T and Verizon, provides its customers, on average, with a 20% savings over AT&T and Verizon direct. The company’s average length of customer exceeds 15 years.

To learn more about Televergence, visit their website at televergence.com.


University of the Cumberlands Students Fill Backpacks With Food for Hungry Kids

Every week, the Corbin Community Backpack Program (CCBP) fills backpacks with non-perishable food items for impoverished schoolchildren in Kentucky’s Knox and Whitley Counties to take home over the weekends. Alex Cox, who finished his degree at the University of the Cumberlands in 2001, has participated in the program for years, and recently, he has been showing current Cumberlands students the ropes.

“It’s fantastic seeing Cumberlands students help out with the program,” said Cox. “Every student who shows up, I always tell them about my time at Cumberlands and what a great experience it was.”

Cox began volunteering with CCBP because one of his colleagues—a regular CCBP volunteer—kept nagging him about it, trying to get Cox involved. Eventually, Cox gave in. He liked the people who worked with the program, and he appreciated CCBP’s mission, so he continued coming.

At the time, CCBP was filling 350-400 backpacks a week. Six years later, that number has ballooned to 900.

Approximately 92 percent of the children at Whitley North Elementary School receive free or reduced-price lunches based on their families’ low incomes. Other schools in the area have similar percentages. The Corbin Backpack Program, Mountain Outreach, and local churches and food pantries all work to help these families have the food they need throughout the year.

“Food is such a basic necessity,” said Jamirae Holbrook, Executive Director for Extended Services at Cumberlands. “It can heavily impact how we act around others, what we accomplish in school and even how we view our lives. We want these kids to be full, happy and confident in their futures. Additionally, part of Cumberlands’ mission is to instill service and leadership into our students. The Backpack Program is making a difference for these children, and we are grateful to be a part of that.”

CCBP packs bags every Monday evening during the school year, and according to Cox, they could always use more volunteers. (For more information, follow Corbin Community Backpack Program on Facebook.) During summertime, when kids are at home, Cumberlands’ outreach program Appalachian Ministries hosts Bible camps for children in the area, and several local churches and ministries run food pantries or offer weekly community meals.

This article originally appeared on the University of the Cumberlands website.



Hollins University Uses Arts and Letters to Promote Public Transportation

The bus has become a timeless symbol in American arts and letters, so it seems only fitting that a student at Sullivan Foundation partner school Hollins University has turned a bus into an actual work of art.

Hollins University, located in Roanoke, Va., joined RIDE Solutions, the Roanoke Arts Commission and the Greater Roanoke Transit Company in promoting the value of public transportation through the annual Art By Bus and Writer By Bus programs, which showcased the talents of the school’s undergraduate and graduate students.

Jennifer Printz, an associate professor of art at Hollins, led one of her classes in creating a serious of original works, one of which was selected to be installed on an entire half of a Valley Metro bus. “Wishes,” by Horizon Program student Mandi Lamb (who uses the artist handle JM Lamb), was chosen by representatives of Hollins, RIDE Solutions, and the Arts Commission to be displayed this year. It depicts two girls blowing the seeds off dandelions, a treasured childhood pastime for many.

Lucy Marcus, who is pursuing an M.F.A. in creative writing at Hollins, was selected through a competitive process by a panel of arts commission and community members as this year’s Writer By Bus. She will ride various buses throughout April and May to produce literary works about her experiences, the people she meets, and the neighborhoods she visits. Her chronicles can be followed on the Writer By Bus Facebook page. Marcus’ final works will appear on the RIDE Solutions webpage this fall.

Hollins University student Lucy Marcus will ride the Metro Valley bus system and write about her experiences as part of a unique program promoting public transportation in Roanoke, Va.

“These are exciting opportunities for our students not only to be involved in promoting this vital public service, but also to see an example of how the arts can be used to draw attention and change perceptions about important issues in our community,” said Hollins President Pareena Lawrence.

Kevin Price, general manager of the Greater Roanoke Transit Company, added, “We hope to make the role of public transit more visible, and to make the experience of taking the bus more exciting.”

Lamb’s design (along with works from the City of Roanoke’s public arts collection that will be displayed on the exterior of two other Valley Metro buses) was officially unveiled at an event on the Hollins campus in mid-April. “My intention with this project was to create an image that invokes memories and feelings that instill joy, transcending age, race, and cultural differences, as well as socioeconomic class inequalities,” Lamb explained. “In short, something for everyone. Initially, when most of us think of dandelion seed ‘puffs,’ we can mentally scroll back to childhood and the hours spent stalking the yard for an intact ‘puff’ to blow in the wind. So simple and satisfying was this playful task, the thought of it produces a smile on most of our faces.”

Marcus, who was recognized with Lamb at the event, noted, “I feel very lucky to live here, where our city workers and elected officials who do the difficult and vital work of keeping the transit circulating also create such rich programming to integrate and support the arts. I look forward to riding and writing with my eyes and heart open.”

According to the Roanoke Times, the Artist By Bus, Writer By Bus program is in its fifth year.

This story was adapted from an article on the Hollins University website and the Roanoke Times article.

Green Is the New Black at Rollins College

By Audrey St. Clair, Rollins College

From renewable energy to alternative transportation to campus-wide recycling programs, a focus on sustainability is woven into the culture at Sullivan Foundation partner school Rollins College. Initiatives like the Sustainability Program, a campus-wide effort focused on infrastructure, and EcoRollins, a student-focused, event-based organization, form the backbone of Rollins’ commitment to preserving the campus community and beyond.

“Thousands of plastic bottles, straws and containers have been prevented from entering landfills because of our combined efforts here on campus,” says Ellie Rushing, a double major in environmental studies and communication studies and co-leader of the Sustainability Program with environmental studies major Gabbie Buendia. “Students are more conscious about what they eat and throw into garbage and recycling bins, and they will take that information and those habits with them when they leave Rollins and teach others.”

The Princeton Review selected Rollins for its annual Green Guide based on academic offerings, campus policies, initiatives, activities, and career preparation for students. Here’s a closer look at why the experts agree that Rollins continues to serve as a model for environmental stewardship.

  1. Rollins has its own EcoHouse on campus. This spot on the back side of Elizabeth Hall—complete with five single rooms, one double, a common room, and bathroom—overlooks Lake Virginia and houses Sustainability Program coordinators and members of EcoRollins who care for the space. They participate in gardening, road and lake cleanups, planned events such as Earth Day and America Recycles Day, and environmental and sustainable education on campus.
  2. You can ditch four wheels for two. Rollins’ bike-share program is in its ninth year of providing bicycles for rent to students, faculty and staff. Currently, there are 44 bikes in the fleet with a mix of cruiser and road bikes, many of which were abandoned and then restored by members of the Sustainability Program. Bikes can be checked out at the Olin Library for three-day rentals.
  3. The recycling program goes beyond bottles and cans. Students in the Sustainability Program—which is overseen by program coordinator Ann Francis—continually collaborate with Rollins’ Facilities department to monitor recycling bins and signage in residence halls, administration buildings and classrooms. In 2017, Rollins removed all plastic bags as a result of a student-driven no-plastic campaign and has subsequently eradicated Styrofoam from campus. The Habitat for Humanity Book Drive promotes reusing and recycling by collecting old books from students during exam week.
  4. Rollins’ environmental studies department was one of the first in the country. Environmental studies professor Barry Allen founded Rollins’ environmental studies department in 1982. For 20-plus years, he has been leading students like Angelo Villagomez, a senior officer with PEW Charitable Trusts, and Tyler Kartzinel, a conservation biology professor at Brown, on field studies to Costa Rica, giving them an up-close, hands-on look at one of the world leaders in conservation and national parks.
  5. No more straws means solving big problems.Turns out those little tubes of convenience aren’t biodegradable, so Rollins has taken steps to eliminate all plastic straws. Environmentally friendly options like pasta straws and paper straws are now available at the different dining locations around campus.

    Photo by Curtis Shaffer

  6. Rollins is a Fair Trade campus.In fact, Rollins became Florida’s first designated Fair Trade campus in 2013. From the Rice Family Bookstore and the Cornell Fine Arts Museum to Dining Services and even Athletics (think Fair Trade balls at soccer practice), Rollins is committed to purchasing environmentally sustainable products that don’t come from sweatshops or child labor and actively educates students about the sustainability issues involved in global commerce.
  7. Farm-to-table has never been so close.Rollins’ on-campus student-run organic farm started as an independent study project aimed at educating students about health and larger issues of how food is produced, transported, sold, and cooked. Andrew Lesmes—along with the help of academic advisors and volunteers—turned a 968-square-foot patch of earth behind Elizabeth Hall into a self-sustaining microfarm that provides homegrown grub to Sodexo, operators of the College’s dining hall.
  8. You can minor in sustainable development. Connecting environmental studies to business, this unique program examines how development and conservation can be intrinsically linked to ensure the protection of Earth’s vital natural systems. Pair the minor with a major in international business or economics or social entrepreneurship for a powerhouse combo.
  9. The Bush Science Center is both high-tech and energy-efficient. This state-of-the-art facility features multiple heat-recovery wheels that allow the school to save up to 70 percent of the energy associated with heating, cooling and dehumidification.
  10. Reusable dining containers make it easy to do your part.The Sustainability Program partnered with Dining Services to implement the OZZI system, which is designed to reduce disposable waste through the use of sustainable, reusable containers at dining locations across campus. Dining Services also gives a reusable cup discount and extends its sustainability commitment to using Green Seal-certified cleaning products, cage-free eggs and certified sustainable seafood.
  11. Hydration stations can be found at every turn. These conveniently placed water stations have saved almost 2,500,000 plastic water bottles since 2012. Dining Services’ latest initiative is to remove all plastic water bottles from campus by the end of 2019.

    Photo by Scott Cook

  12. Going green takes many forms. Students like Morgan Laner can start their own program like EcoReps. This campus initiative, currently managed by Lauren Oxendine and Gabbie Buendia, is devoted to training and recruiting student leaders focused on sustainability. Students can also join the Committee on Environmental and Sustainable Issues (CESI), which advises college leadership on concerns related to sustainable development, environmental impact, biodiversity and environmental justice. Or they can take a community engagement course like Strategies for Changemakers and discover how to improve the environment right in their backyard.
  13. Year-round events and activities keep environmental engagement turned up to an 11. From lake cleanups and e-waste drives to clothing swaps and food-waste audits, there’s always an opportunity to take a small step toward big change. Since fall 2017, for example, Rollins has stopped 4,881 pounds of electronic waste from entering landfills and polluting the environment.