We began this class, as we often do, with a quick check-in; we went around and shared highs and lows of our week. For his low, Jaesun mentioned that the semester is already halfway over, which was a shocking reminder for everyone. This became a main theme of the class: with about a month and a half left in this practicum, what should we do? What priorities are most urgent? What needs to happen now to ensure that this work continues?
The main goal for class today was to debrief from last week’s Transition Design workshop and plan for what comes next. In preparation, each of the three tracks (Institutional, Community, Development) was asked to prepare a short presentation on where things currently stand and what goals and strategies for the rest of the year might look like. Each team presented and received feedback from the group as a whole:
The Institutional track shared that we’ve gotten informal buy-in from Hopkins administrators (though we’re still waiting on a tonnage pledge), and JHU PLAN is in conversation with students at Towson and UMBC. The next major goal in this track is to leverage Hopkins’ influence to get other institutions to support the development. However, another important goal is figuring out how to keep pressure on Hopkins after the practicum ends. One strategy proposed by the group is to use the PLAN chapter; PLAN can become the main body organizing around zero-waste at Hopkins, and we can anchor it to the Office of Sustainability to ensure continuity. Anand raised the point that while it’s of course important to bring new students into the movement, there are lots of faculty and staff who are already engaged in environmental justice, zero-waste, and other related issues. What would it look like to more consistently engage these faculty and staff?
The Development track shared that they’re a new track, and they still need to do some of the groundwork of researching and framing the problem. The team explained that Hopkins’ involvement with the resource recovery park can be divided into “before” and “after” the park is built. This team could focus on how Hopkins will support the actual development of the site (funding, construction, etc), or they could focus on how Hopkins will engage with the park once it’s built (research/education programs, building out different waste streams, etc). The group recommended focusing more on the former (short-term, before the park is built). Raychel pointed out that what we want from Hopkins isn’t just the tonnage pledge, but a broader commitment to supporting this resource recovery park - part of that commitment is how Hopkins will support the construction of the site.
The Community track shared findings from last semester’s outreach efforts to businesses and residents about composting. Mom’s already composts, so there’s potential for Mom’s to become a compost leader for the other businesses in the Rotunda. The team proposed connecting with Mom’s and other businesses in the Rotunda to start conversations about what it could look like for neighboring businesses to compost collectively. There was also a resident in Roland Park interested in organizing a community compost system for their neighborhood - they can be connected with the Violetville residents to learn about their compost infrastructure. The group discussed how both of these areas of progress - businesses composting in the Rotunda, and residents composting in Roland Park - can be generalized into guidelines to help businesses and residents all over the city start to compost collectively.
After the presentations and discussion, each team was given time to meet and plan more concrete action items. We finished class with the assignment to summarize these action items in a one-pager to be reviewed by Greg and Shashawnda of SBCLT.