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  • Writer's pictureIsa Luzarraga

Emerson's New Teach-In Explores Sustainable Means of Learning and Living

Nejem Raheem knows that “sustainability” has become a sort of buzzword, tossed about in political discourse or classroom discussion, yet not entirely understood by the majority of people. Perhaps, “sustainability” elicits the image of a fresh pile of compost or sheet of solar panels.

Raheem, associate professor of economics and interim chair of Marketing Communication, argues it’s much more.

“Over the years I’ve seen how what we do at Emerson connects to sustainability in a bunch of different ways,” Raheem said. “But when I talk about it with people, a lot of times they don’t have that sense, because they have what I think is a fairly narrow view of what sustainability could mean.”

Simply, sustainability is the concept of meeting current human needs without sacrificing the needs of the future. This idea can be found in all industries, from sustainability officers at Netflix to journalists covering environmental justice. After years of planning, Raheem, senior writer-in-residence Christine Casson and other organizers will get to see this idea brought to the Emerson community through the first ever Teach-in on Sustainability, taking place March 27-30.

Rooted in the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals, the three-day event will bring together alums, faculty members, students and local leaders to discuss the relevance and importance of sustainability in all industries.

“We all wanted to sort of highlight what it was we’re doing at Emerson to advance all of this right,” Raheem said. “The other thing is to clarify what role we can play as communicators and artists in this field.”

Professors and students alike have been involved throughout the teach-in’s planning process, including Political Communications major and president of student organization Emerson Green Collective Ava Tribe ‘24. She and EGC vice president Indigo Pinedo ‘23 acted as consultants and will lead several of the teach-in’s events.

“[Indigo] has been super instrumental in making sure that the student voices have been heard,” Tribe said. “Everything we’ve expressed has been focused around trying to get students involved in [the teach-in], making it interactive and collaborative. We didn’t want it to be like a classroom.”

Reflecting this idea, the teach-in will host a variety of hands-on sessions, panels and labs to highlight the advocates and educators embracing sustainability in their own work. Ultimately, Raheem and Tribe hope attendees realize sustainability is an integral part of the Emerson community and that each individual has the power to make a change.

Visit the teach-in’s homepage to view and register for events.

Originally published in Emerson Today

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