Sustainability office celebrates transition

The MSU Office of Sustainability will host the first ever Spotlight on Sustainability from 4 to 6 p.m. in the Leigh Lounge today, Thursday, Feb. 14. This event celebrates the transition of the Office of Sustainability from a student-funded ASMSU organization to an MSU organization, while also welcoming the new Director of Sustainability, Kristin Blackler.

The Office of Sustainability is a student-oriented organization that collaborates with MSU students and the greater Bozeman community to actively engage in sustainable behavior. Emily Van Genderen, an MSU student and employee of the Office of Sustainability, noted that the office is “entirely student-run besides the two head positions,” and the goal of the organization is “action, as well as awareness.”

According to Van Genderen, the organization has a distinct focus on student empowerment on campus, as they hope to give grants to students and fund sustainability projects on campus in the coming years. The organization also focuses on community involvement, as its partnerships with the Gallatin Valley Earth Celebration and planned collaboration with the Bozeman Human Empowered Art Project demonstrate.

Despite all of this, the Office of Sustainability has been faced with adversity over the past year with limited funding from ASMSU and difficulty with campus recycling facilities. To ensure the opportunities and funding it needs, the organization is changing its structure, but leaving its core values intact.

“Students funded us to this point,” Van Genderen said, adding “Thank you so much for all your support and now we’re still looking to help everyone out.” She and the rest of the organization hope that this transition will help strengthen its ability to empower students and make a positive change in the community.

The event will feature free, locally-grown food, a raffle to win a brand-new bike donated by the Bike Kitchen and an address from MSU President Waded Cruzado. For more information on the Office of Sustainability, check out the event or visit their office in SUB 175.