By Katherine Coble || Layout Assistant
The Pennsylvania Environmental Resources Consortium recently acknowledged the Franklin & Marshall staff and student body for their commitment to sustainability at the consortium’s annual conference in State College, Pennsylvania.
The consortium honored both Kathy Hertzler, an administrative assistant at the College’s Office of College Grants, and Ellie Ezekiel ‘17, an Animal Behavior major and member of F&M’s Women’s Volleyball team, for their work in promoting sustainability on the F&M campus.
Ezekiel explains: “I have always felt a passion for protecting the environment but it wasn’t until I started working at F&M’s Center for Sustainable Earth & Environment that I really found a way to make my voice matter.” She is a sustainability intern on campus and has focused particularly on making F&M’s athletic facilities more environmentally friendly. Ellie led the Volleyball team’s efforts to get recycled uniforms. She says that, “sustainability is important to me in the same way that it should be important to everyone else. It’s about protecting our future.”
Her fellow honoree, Kathy Hertzler, echoes this sentiment: “I have two children and I’m concerned for the environment that they’re going to inherit from us. And I’m concerned for their children, my grandchildren, I want them to live in a healthy environment.” A Vermont native that has called F&M home for more than 24 years, Hertzler says that practicing sustainability at work is an extension of the life lessons she learned as a child. “Growing up, my family didn’t have a whole lot of money, but we made due with a lot…We canned things, we froze things, we had a big garden, we had goats and chickens for milk and eggs.” Reusing and repurposing resources in the workplace is an extension of this ethos for Hertzler. She is taking relatively small steps to change the world in a very big way.
Both Ezekiel and Hertzler reflect on the Pennsylvania Environmental Resources Consortium (PERC) conference with excitement and awe. “It was nice to be surrounded with so many forward-thinkers, and to be able to bounce ideas off of them,” Ezekiel remarked.
Hertzler was also overjoyed by the commitment to sustainability found in every room of the conference, saying it “was interesting to be in the same room as all these people that have made
[sustainability] their life’s work.” The eye-opening experience will not leave them any time soon.
At the end of the day, Ezekiel and Hertzler are just two members of the community serving as excellent ambassadors for a greater social movement at F&M.
The College has been named a “Green College” by the Princeton Review for several years and as time goes on, the College’s commitment to sustainability continues to grow. New, informed classes arrive in Lancaster every fall, and they bring with them a strong desire to make change. Ezekiel talks of a “behavioral shift” that is needed for sustainability to be truly successful as a concept. With each class of Franklin & Marshall students, that shift persists.
Ezekiel and Hertzler hope that F&M continues to expand its sustainability projects and that all members of the campus community participate in one way or another.
In Ezekiel’s words: “Sustainability is a group project, through and through.” When all members of the F&M community are united under a common goal, the College can make the greatest possible impact.
First-year Katherine Coble is a layout assistant. Her email is email@example.com.