Green Drinks Hosted, Local Greens Toasted
In an event billed as a chance for professors, students and community members to engage in an informal networking session about their ideas and interest in the development of sustainable environmental models, the Office of Environmental Sustainability hosted its first Green Drinks event at the ’Sco this past Tuesday.
The overall atmosphere of the event was informal, though only a handful of people actually sampled the alcohol. Despite the fact that there was a clear division between the older professors and the eager underclassmen at the event, people moved freely through the space, engaging in discussions as the opportunity arose. The conversations were not limited to issues pertinent to environmental sustainability, but streamed effortlessly from topic to topic. The environment was unexpectedly free of the dogmatic discourse that would be expected from a gathering of like-minded individuals. More so, it was a chance for people with similar interests to meet one another and coalesce with the hope that these conversations would continue afterward.
Coming on the heels of a semester rife with environmental programs, newly founded grants and increased national celebrity for the Adam Joseph Lewis Center for Environmental Studies, the event spotlighted a period of transition in Oberlin’s goals.
The organizers of the event proclaimed it a success, given both the turnout and the freewheeling discussion. According to College senior Lora DiFranco, who works in the Office of Environmental Sustainability, “The goal of this event is to connect people doing environmental sustainability projects on campus and to just get people communicating more and make sure there is not redundancy in the different projects.”
Although some students came with the specific desire to network with other students, professors or community members, there were others who attended the event with the interest of learning about Oberlin activities in environmental sustainability.
“I’m here just to learn just like everyone else,” said Chris Baymiller, associate director of the Student Union. Baymiller went on further to express his pleasure in the diversity of the crowd. “It’s nice to see that it’s not just college students but that we have a nice cross-section from the entire college community.”
Nathan Engstrom, sustainability coordinator for Oberlin, organized the event. Engstrom was inspired to establish a monthly Green Drinks program after attending similar programs before coming to Oberlin.
Green Drinks International is an informally structured organization that hosts similar events around the world encouraging likeminded people to interact. On the group’s website, greendrinks.org, it describes the events as places where people “have found employment, made friends, developed new ideas, done deals and had moments of serendipity.”