Coordinating Sustainability on Trips

Madison [second from right] and other sustainability folks at the farm stand outside Collis. 

Hi there! My name is Madison, and this year I’m serving Trips as Sustainability Coordinator. I grew up just outside of Philadelphia in Audubon, Pennsylvania. At Dartmouth, I study Environmental Studies and French, and in particular, I research wine. I sing in a cappella and work for the Sustainability Office. Sometimes I climb. Often I run in Pine Park.

So just in the first seven sentences of this post, I’ve used the word “sustainability” two times. Before coming to Dartmouth, I never heard the word sustainability. I had zero clues as to what that meant. As an Environmental Studies major, I learned this word quickly, but it was always a little fuzzy in meaning.

In an academic sense, sustainability is a system’s ability to resiliently respond to social, economic, and/or environmental changes, taking into account the intergenerational components of the system’s problems.

On Dartmouth’s campus, sustainability looks like so many different things – it encompasses fostering inclusivity and diversity, sorting waste into the correct bins, fighting for social justice, switching to a more sustainable heating fuel (we currently use no. 6 fuel oil), bringing a reusable mug to Collis for that coffee fix, riding a thrifted bike to class… the list goes on.

The more that I study and work with sustainability, the more I realize it is EVERYWHERE. There is no denying its holistic nature. It weaves its way into all parts of our lives. Sustainability guides my daily choices – are my words and actions including the thoughts and opinions of others? Am I taking care of myself, finding time to journal or run? Do I need to buy new pants or are thrifted ones just as good? Did I turn the lights off when I left the room?

This is why I think that conversations about sustainability are so important. For something so omnipresent, it makes sense that we would talk about it. On Trips and through my role as Sustainability Coordinator, we are trying to represent sustainability as it occurs on campus (and throughout our whole lives, really). This means that Trippees bring reusable utensils and bowls on Trips for food. We introduce you to the compost and recycling systems on campus and practice Leave No Trace (LNT) principles out on our trips. Trippees will write a little before hitting the sleeping bags for the night with a journal curated by the Student Wellness Center. All of our Trips Volunteers undergo training in inclusivity, diversity, the outdoors, and of course, safety protocols because we know how important it is to foster a community of mindful, welcoming individuals.

All of this to say, I’m excited to meet each of you in just a few weeks. I wish to be a resource to my new peers, so please blitz me at with questions, comments, concerns, or to grab a cup of coffee.


Big Green Love,


Screenshot 2017-08-12 18.29.43
The sustainability sale cleans and recycles dorm items from the previous year. Make sure to check it out on Tuesday, Sept. 5.

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