MSU Environmental Club Recognized Club for Initiative

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Students from the Environmental Club. Photo courtesy of Niyani Lingham-Green
Students from the Environmental Club receive honorable mention for MSU Sustainability Center: Inspired by Earthship project.
Photo courtesy of Niyani Lingham-Green

The Montclair State University Environmental Club has been recognized for their year-old innovative startup project, which is the first Earthship-inspired building to ever be in the process of being implemented on a university campus.
The Environmental Club’s initiative is called MSU Sustainability Center: Inspired by Earthship and last Friday, Oct. 30, the club received an honorable mention from the New Jersey chapter of the United States Green Building Council (USGBC NJ) for their innovative creation and sustainable development practices.
At the end of the Spring 2015 semester, the Environmental Club submitted this sustainability center as a proposal to the USGBC NJ for an award they were offering in the innovative sustainability initiative category. The award came with a financial prize, which the club was hoping to use towards implementing their project.
On Sept. 9, Stephano Castro received the letter from Awards Committee Chair, informing him that their proposal won a public honorable mention. Castro is a senior at Montclair State majoring in sustainability sciences and both the president and founder of the Environmental Club.
Although the club did not win the award they were hoping for, the honorable mention they received is both professionally beneficial and personally rewarding. The recognition took place at the Annual Emerald Awards Gala in University Hall and served as a reflection of the club’s accomplishments and recognition of the significance of their work while giving the students a night to be proud and celebrate their accomplishments.
Castro organized and chartered the club during the Fall 2014 semester. He decided to start the club when he was looking for help with this project and realized how many people were passionate about creating this structure. The club was organized around the idea of creating a sustainable living space and the club members have been dedicated to seeing this project through.
The Earthship that Castro was inspired by is a type of solar home, sold by Earthship Biotecture. Earthship homes use little to no fossil fuels and are constructed using various natural resources, including tires, cans and other recycled materials for the structure and the sun for energy.
According to Nicole Provost, a senior and member of the Environmental Club, “In order to break away from a wasteful, consumer-driven lifestyle, we must first look at the place that we call home. Most homes in the United States are unsustainable due to their energy usage and construction practices.”
And Provost is not the only one with this opinion. According to Florence Block and Anastasia Harrison of the Awards Committee, “[The] project is a most noteworthy accomplishment that we are proud to celebrate on this very special occasion for USGBC NJ.”
As part of the prize of receiving this honorable mention, the students involved got a ticket to the gala free of charge and got to dress up and enjoy the masquerade-style dinner party. Castro is proud of what his group has done, but is still hard at work getting approval from the school to implement their development ideas.

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