The Cougar KATS
Introducing the Kean University Action Team for Sustainability
Right is Mari Angeles Sanchez, freshmen, Major. psychology
Kean University is considered a Green campus; however, few are aware that it is actually the only university in New Jersey that offers a Bachelor's degree in sustainability science. In fact, Kean is one of only 12 universities in the country that offers such a degree.
Students@KATS is the acronym for the Kean Action Team for Sustainability group on campus. KATS is a student organization that deals with issues concerning sustainability in a pro-active, hands-on, manor. The group is required to come up with a sustainability project each month, making sure that they are practicing what they preach. These projects may vary from encouraging students to sign a pressing sustainable related petition to lecturing in the Transition to Kean classes about sustainability, why it is important, and what students can do to lessen their own carbon foot print. A current study they are working on involves members of KATS standing by three or four University Center garbage cans and making sure everything recyclable is being recycled. Then, when the trash is collected, they are going see how many pounds of recyclables are accumulated.
KATS was created by student Bryan Nesi, a junior sustainability science major and the 2011 fall semester president of KATS. He stated, "I created this group because I want to make a positive impact on the campus community. I want to inspire the people around me to be as passionate about sustainable living as I am." Luckily for Nesi, KATS is made up of 23 committed members.
"It's not a group that just sits and talks in a weekly meeting. Everyone involved must be an active participant in influencing positive change," stated Bryan Rubio, sophomore sustainability science major and vice president of KATS. "You can't get away with being a passive member," added Nesi.
The group usually holds their meetings every other Tuesday in Maxine and Jack Lane Center for Academic Success, room 251 at 3:20 p.m. However, depending on the project at hand; it may be decided to meet weekly for a given amount of time. KATS prides themselves on being diverse within the Kean community in terms of majors, age, and interest. Therefore, it is open to anyone who wants to join. All they ask is that the group of students wanting to participate be passionate about a more sustainable world, or are at least willing to learn more information. "I believe knowledge of the culture of sustainability has the potential to preserve Earth systems and help repair past ecological offenses," said Armand Crispino, a sustainability science major and member of KATS.
KATS current goal is to inspire people to learn more about sustainability and to link up other groups who strive to do the same. In conjunction with Green Fest, KATS is going to be present a student led summit. This summit will involve members of Rutgers, Ryder, Rowan, Montclair Universities -- giving students the opportunity to network with other sustainability or sustainability related groups. "We want to build connections with other student groups, not only to help fulfill our goals, but to also learn more about the ways other groups conduct themselves and hopefully band together for future projects. There is only so much a small number of people can do, but when a large group of committed members is gathered and becomes one unit it can turn in to something truly powerful," noted Rubio.
To learn more about KATS and the importance of sustainability, students can visit http://kean.collegiatelink.net/organization/StudentsatKATS/about.
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