Start with awareness – faculty perspective

Karen LeVanAwareness creates possibility for intentional care. Lack of awareness creates potential disregard. One of my educational goals is to increase my own and others’ awareness of where materials we use come from and where they go when we don’t use them anymore. I hope to become more aware of how material and natural worlds relate. As part of the ecosystem, we live in partnership whether we like it or know it. The lives and resources involved before, during and after production, as well as use and “disposal” matter, literally. Through small and big efforts, I am committed to exposing how individual actions, both fleeting and habitual, accumulate and change the world.

My campus efforts include 1) the stickers on campus trashcans and paper dispensers that say “Going to the Landfill. Can you recycle instead?” or “These Come From Trees,” and 2) the 10-Day Give at year’s end that lessens the amount of usable goods Hesston College sends to the landfill by collecting items students wish to abandon and distributing them to local nonprofit agencies. The fall 2010 First-Year Seminar class distributed the stickers as part of the sustainability unit, and a number of people help coordinate the 10-Day Give, in particular Kendra Burkey ’00, Randy Toews, Jim Mason ’75, and the Journalism and First-Year Experience seminar. I am thankful to work in a community committed to becoming more aware of the relationships, behaviors and conditions—human, social, environmental and financial—that have the potential to sustain or devastate life.

— Karen Sheriff LeVan, English instructor and First-Year Experience seminar coordinator