Conversation #55: Sustainability at Xavier

Download Conversation #55

Follow the ArrowA change from our ordinary conversational format, this episode features a montage of commentary recorded in the spring of 2015 under the auspices of Dr. Megan Osterbur. We asked two questions: What does sustainability means to you? What can Xavier do to be more sustainable? Answers come mainly from students and staff. The closing thought comes from Dr. Kimberly Chandler.

Bart Everson: Hi, this is Bart Everson, media artist at CAT+. In this episode, we’re going to depart from our usual format of having conversations with people who are doing teaching. In fact, we’re going to share some recordings that were made around Xavier’s campus under the auspices of Dr. Meagan Osterbur back in the spring of 2015. Mostly, we’re going to hear from students, but some staff in there as well. We asked about the definition of sustainability and also what Xavier can do to be more sustainable. What’s interesting about these recordings is that the responses may not be what you expect, but I ask you to listen with an open mind and note the high degree of consistency across a lot of these answers. Of course, it’s been a couple years.  We have a new president. There’s been a lot of changes on campus since then. We end finally, since our faculty development podcasts, with a word from our own Dr. Kimberly Chandler.

Jerome Brown: I’m Jerome Brown, broadcast major and mass communication.  

“What does sustainability mean to you?”

Jerome Brown: Sustainability means being balanced and not causing any harm to your surroundings and to just basically fit into a place.

“In your opinion, what can Xavier do to be  more sustainable?”

Jerome Brown: I believe the institution should listen to everybody who is a part of the school and I wouldn’t say do what they say but take into account of what they would want to see done differently or remain the same. I believe the school can make the surrounding community more of a part of what they’re doing.

Aria Northly: My name is Aria Northly. I’m a student at Xavier. Sustainability, to me, means being stable and solid in your performance and having things together and not being all over the place, whether it be with a person, organization, or anything of that nature.

“What can Xavier do to be more sustainable?”

Aria Northly:   For Xavier to be more sustainable, I think they need to look at who they hire, whether it be our incoming president  or professors, and make sure that they listen to the student body as much as possible because we’re what really makes the university run.

Alaysia Smith: My name is Alaysia Smith. I’m a political science major with a minor in education. I think for Xavier to maintain sustainability, they should live up to their mission statement that we have and keep grooming individuals to do more than to excel in their field. They should go out and maintain a just and humane society. Not just teach students, but have them to understand what they’re learning and how to help others.

Ellie Wood: My name is Ellie Wood and I’m one of the athletic trainers at Xavier University and, to me, sustainability means being able to provide for yourself to continue an existence.One of the ways that Xavier could increase their own sustainability would be to encourage alumni donations and to have a higher level of community involvement so that when people leave Xavier, they’re encouraged to give back and keep the university going.

Amara Bersten-Hampton: My name is Amara Bersten-Hampton. I’m a junior and a biology major. What sustainability means to me is being able to provide the correction resources to function and to be able to work easily. Some things that could change on campus for Xavier to be more sustainable would be to provide more diverse establishments. Other schools have Starbucks, Chipotle, and other trademarks that are on campus. So, maybe bring more of those in. Fix the parking problem because parking for faculty and students is ridiculous. Extend library hours because it's hard to always plan to get in there in a 12 hour period. I think the library should be open 24 hours all the time. Also, printing at the library. I think since we already pay to go to the establishment. We shouldn’t have to pay for prints every time we want to print something.

Hailey Yarmen: My name is Hailey Yarmen. I’m a biology major and a psychology minor.

“What does sustainability mean to you?”

Hailey: It means a lot. Most people who are in college, are in college for sustainability.

“What can Xavier do to be more sustainable?

Hailey: Offer more majors for students. Offer better facilities. Better programs.

Christopher Jackson: Christopher Jackson, public health major.

“What does sustainability mean to you?”

Christopher: To have longevity but also to stand firm for a long period of time. To actually be able to withstand due time without having any failures. To be a strong support system.

“What can Xavier do to be more sustainable?”

Christopher: Xavier University really needs to look at their student population and they need to try to find ways that they can make the environment fun for their students and interactive Especially for those who live on campus. The campus living is okay. Some dorms are nice. Some of the doors have renovated or need to be renovated, but once the weekend gets here, it’s really nothing but studying. Students look for other things. That’ll help students from doing other things which will lead to crime and stuff. So, if they have more outlets for students to do things, even if it's just rides to malls. I mean I know they do that, not saying that they don’t but come on SGA, really? You’re really not doing too much. Don’t plan all the crazy stuff in the UC, some people really want to get off campus and they’re some students who don’t have cars here. They really need to look into the student life and making the student atmosphere fun. If they really want to get students, I mean you have to have a fun environment. If students come here and all they see is homework, homework, homework, it’s like where’s the fun? Where’s the parties? Nobody wants to come. That’s why the student population is actually decreasing at Xavier. They really need to do that. I know if they lower tuition that would probably help but I know they won’t.  

Elizabeth Lewis: Elizabeth Lewis, Biology Pre-Med major. To me, sustainability means to put out the same type of people or the same type name since a certain point in time, to continue that and keep that going. In order for Xavier to sustain the type of people that they put out and sustain the name that they have for themselves, they have to grow with the times. As time progresses, they need to adapt to what society needs and to what students need in order to keep the name of the school that puts out the strong students and strong doctors, strong pharmacists that they’ve put out for the past couple of years.

Ezinye Argarombo: I’m a Chemistry Pre-Med major. I think sustainability means to be resourceful and to be able to be self independent and kind of use what you have to make more of it and to continue to promote longevity. I think for Xavier, yeah, people say recycling, that’s a way to be more sustainable but also, I think as university, a way for us to be more sustainable is to have more programs and things that would appeal to incoming freshmen that many people here think don’t make us a college campus. Maybe bringing back greek life, or having more on campus activities, building newer dorms and more facilities. Things like that.

Isaiah Friction: Business management major. Sustainability means to me, a balance that we keep for the sake of longevity. Being able to sustain something to keep the durability for a long time as opposed to resources running out or opposed to something being nullified in a short period of time. Working from inside out to maintain sustainability, if Xavier wants to remain Xavier, remain a HBCU, they have to start with bettering their services, henceforth, better living conditions, two, bettering their services from an academic standpoint and also, not just relying on surveys to better fix the university with a whole but also realizing from a more precise and more specific or reasoning through the personnel of the students. How to better establish a student here so that the school can be a better place, not just academically, but also for health. That means if you have to change some of the ways from you know, the “caf,” if you have to change some of the housing conditions, if you have to change some of the security conditions, also if you have to change some of the stressful conditions too for the students. That’s a big deal seeing that there is a lot of anxiety being a college student. Those are some good steps to promote sustainability. If you want this HBCU to last longer.

JaLacey Williamson: My name is JaLacey Williamson. My major is Chemistry Pre-Pharmacy. Sustainability means everything we need for our survival  and well-being. Xavier can upgrade by bringing restaraunts to campus and making the campus more modern.

Jadira Nawilkey: I’m Jadira Nawilkey. I’m a biology pre-med major. I think sustainability is being able to maintain yourself  without having to worry about somebody else taking care of you or providing for you. In order for Xavier to be more sustainable, they should offer more financial aid to take away stress that a lot of student have when it comes to knowing they have to keep a certain GPA in school. It’ll invite more people to some to Xavier because they know they’ll be comfortable to learn and just be able to focus on learning instead of worrying about their grades and financial stability.

Jeremiah Davis: Biology Pre-Med major. I would define sustainability to be the ability of an institution, organization, or anything for that matter  to be self-sufficient, able to reproduce, generationally,  and continue to exist without no outside help. In order for Xavier to remain sustainable, Xavier needs to address issues dealing with student involvement and student retention.

Jordan Arell: Mass-comm major. Sustainability is consistency. For Xavier to be more sustainable, I believe they should have more events on campus, more events to help the community out for an overall consistency in the classroom.

Joseph K. Byrd: Vice President for student services at Xavier. What does sustainability mean? It means resources. It means interest. It means intellect. It means dedication. It means hard work all for a specific cause. Particularly, when it pertains to bettering our life for one’s self, one’s loved ones, and the community at large. What can Xavier do to be more sustainable? I think we could get more students, get them dedicated to studying,  to sacrifice, hard work, and become servant leaders so they can help fulfill Xavier’s mission and that is to go out and make our community and our world more just and humane by self sacrifice on the part of every Xavierite.

Caleb Roman Murry: My major is psychology. My definition of sustainability is to keep itself going and thriving. I think Xavier could make itself more sustainable by being more progressive and modern.

Kiera Hitchens: I’m a pre-pharmacy major at Xavier. Sustainability means to me, to be able to be maintained at a certain rate or a level. I think that Xavier should be more sustainable by actually paying attention more to the things that go on at campus. Pay more attention to their students instead of alumni and staff.

Dr. Kimberly Chamber: Assistant professor of communication studies at Xavier University of Louisiana.  I like to define sustainability in the sense of the word legacy. Sustainability means something that is able to reproduce itself, leave a history, but also continue into the future. What can Xavier do to be more sustainable? It can actively live out the legacy of its mission. How do you do that? What that means is promote a more just and humane society. Then, you can not utilize the legacy of St. Katharine Drexel and the Catholic church  as a sustainable legacy, because it’s not. It’s only sustainable if every professor, every student, our pedagogue, the way we teach, every staff member, every person of the Xavier community is engaged in: #1- a mindset of social justice, meaning that we are a created community that is just for every person in the community and fair for every person in the community and treats every person in a way that honors their humanity and that we are actively promoting those particular elements of social justice in our community. For example,  we are in the middle of one of the most economically depressed areas  of New Orleans. The question becomes, “Why doesn’t the community around us look like Xavier looks aesthetically?” So if we want to talk about sustainability and living out our mission, then we need to leave the place better than it was when we came and we need to live in a place that looks like better than what we look like.

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