Under the Knife: GEO Club diffuses discernment across campus

For members of the Geneseo Environmental Organization who strive to promote dialogue about the environment and to help Geneseo become more environmentally friendly, green is definitely the new black.

Geography professor David Robertson serves as adviser to this popular and dynamic club. The executive board is made up of senior President Yolanda Gonzalez, senior Vice President Ryan Quinn, junior Treasurer Sharon McCabe, and senior Secretary Stephanie Aquilina. Juniors Rachel Svenson and Brian Whitney serve as Student Association representative and Web master, respectively, and senior Nolan Quinn serves as sultan of sustainability. His job is to do research and work on campus sustainability initiatives.

"We try to educate our members and the campus about current environmental issues as well as actions being taken here at Geneseo that may be hurting or helping the environment," said McCabe. To do this, GEO holds many events on campus to promote its mission.

"One of our biggest campaigns is the Think Outside the Bottle campaign, which is part of a larger National Campaign against bottled water," McCabe said. As part of this campaign, the club created a "monster" of water bottles in the Union lobby. The club also hosts an annual energy conservation contest, in which all of the residence halls' energy usage is monitored for one month and whichever hall saves the most energy wins a prize.

GEO also recently took its second trip to Washington, D.C. for Power Shift '09 to petition government officials for action regarding climate change. The club said they plan to take trips to several state parks and the Genesee Valley Conservancy before the end of the semester. They are also planning a "slow food" event to encourage students to move away from fast food and vending machine meals, and to show "the ease and benefits of taking the time to eat healthy, wholesome meals," said Ryan Quinn.

According to its members, the best part about GEO is the people you meet by participating in different events.

"My favorite part about GEO is being around other students who want to make a difference, who want to make sure that later generations don't suffer from our existing lifestyles," said Ryan Quinn. "The environmental movement has been gaining momentum after being extinguished in the '80s and '90s, and I'm proud to be working on what I see as one of the most pressing issues of our generation - the changing of American habits from being environmentally destructive, to at the very least, environmentally neutral."

GEO meets on Mondays at 7:30 p.m. in the Union's Fireside Lounge. Quinn encourages new members to come to weekly meetings to bring their ideas and experiences. "Nothing is better than word of mouth and social networking," he said. "It was a few friends that got me to go to my first GEO meeting, and the rest is history."