For the second year in a row, the White Mountain community came together for Sustainable Community Day. The Sustainability Club initiated this event in 2017 in recognition of Earth Day. They endeavored to plan a day that would involve the entire community and would be action-based; they hoped that everyone would learn new skills and gain practical experience while working together toward a common goal. And finally they wanted the community to recognize that there are many ways to be involved with sustainability and that investing in your community is a great jumping off point. In her introduction to the day, Renee Blacken, Sustainability Studies Chair and Science Faculty, said the following:
“Sustainability encompasses but also extends beyond the realm of environmental well-being, to include the social and economic dimensions of human society as well. Sustainability is about investing in your community, and seeing how you can make a positive impact on the people and place by which you are surrounded. Today is a celebration of sustainability, the well-being of community, place, and people. We will learn new skills, share knowledge, ask hard questions, be silly together, be vulnerable in some ways, and confident in others. We will learn from people from White Mountain and the larger community as they share the many different ways they contribute to creating vibrant communities. Vibrant communities are those that do not simply survive, but thrive. They live to their fullest potential and add value to the world. Vibrant communities require invested citizens.”
Sustainable Community Day commenced with a delicious breakfast featuring local food and a number of students and faculty got up extra early to help the kitchen staff with the preparation and cooking. The maple syrup which was made on campus (with sap from campus trees) was a big hit as always! Throughout the morning, students, faculty and staff participated in various workshops and activities that focused on community, connection, growth, sustainability and the environment. Side by side, students and faculty explored vermiculture, made soap, tested water, created music, learned new games, cooked local food, made jam, cleaned up local trails, created art in nature, did yoga and worked on the school’s farm and pizza oven. Lunch also featured local food products and some of the morning workshops were focused on preparing food for this meal as well.
The afternoon featured a panel discussion with a number of local community members who shared about what they do and how they see their work contributing to the creation of vibrant communities for the present and future generations. From helping to develop new mountain bike trails to owning a local yoga studio to running a local farm, the panel members all helped the community to see that sustainability is a diverse field and that there are many ways to participate and contribute. Sustainable Community Day concluded with a basketball tournament for charity, a friendly fitness competition and a walk to our local spring with some of the campus dogs. It was a great day and Renee noted that it was made possible by the “enthusiastic contributions and participation” of the entire community.