By Kassel Franco Garibay
Drew students and Madison community members gathered on the evening of Thursday, April 19, at the second Madison Green Vision Forum co-hosted by Drew University and the Madison Environmental Commission. The event took place in Crawford Hall, consisting of both presentations from Madison students and conversation between the community members and borough councilpersons.
Mayor of Madison, Bob Conley, gave the opening remarks, praising young students for being involved and encouraging older generations to get back on track and take care of the environment. “This is but another example of Madison and Drew University coming together for the benefit of the entire community,” said Mayor Conley.
The event kicked off with roundtable conversations. There was a council member sitting at every table and the attendants were encouraged to talk about what each of them does to make their community greener. Leah Nadel (‘18) spoke about how she knits her own reusable makeup wipes and is working towards reducing plastic use in her day to day life.
“I am a big fan of talking about how togetherness saves energy,” said Robbie Armstrong, a Coordinator of Residential Engagement at Drew. “If I am working, watching a movie, or something like that I try to get out of my apartment and go to places where I know the lights will be on anyway. Like the EC, a lounge or Drip coffee.”
Students from Madison Junior School shared their bike swap program in which they repair donated bikes and sell them for $10 to fundraise for Peace Works. Another middle school student shared his proposal to install solar panels on top of Madison schools and the new apartments that are currently being built. Finally, the MJS Robotics Team shared their #FiveMinuteMission campaign with which they are trying to convince Madison residents to take 5-minute showers. According to their research, reducing shower time across town would save enough water to fill 40 Olympic swimming pools every year.
Kings Road School and Madison High School also sent representatives to talk about their green vision for Madison. The high school students shared their thoughts on what they thought better transportation should look like in Madison. They suggested creating colorful bike tracks across town to make biking safer and add a colorful touch to the streets. Central Ave School students shared their Klean Kanteen campaign to reduce the use of plastic bottles.
To represent Drew University, Josephine Emanuelli (‘19) gave a presentation on Drew’s new community garden, The Greenery. The project was inspired by a community garden in Cuba, which Drew students visited on a shortTREC. The Greenery is located behind Brother’s College and will be officially inaugurated on April 20, at 4 p.m.
“The reason for the event was to foster communication within the community on environmental and sustainability issues and solutions that we can implement,” said Renee Shalhoub, a member of the Madison Environmental Committee. “We hoped to create dialogue around the projects the youth of Madison is working on in an attempt to support them.”
With over 50 people in attendance, the Madison community wrapped up the event sharing what they had learned from the young students and giving out Green Visionary Certificates for their exemplary environmental leadership.