With a new school year quickly approaching we wanted to do another speaker series and this time focus on clubs and organizations at Wilfrid Laurier University that are also focused on sustainability and align with our values. We were able to talk to Sarah Klatt the President of the club Sustainability in Business Laurier and below is a transcript of our conversation. (Responses have been lightly edited for clarity)
Food Fight (FF): Tell us a little bit about Sustainability in Business Laurier
Sustainability in Business Laurier (SIB): This upcoming year is our fourth year running and my third year involved in the club. At SIB we want to foster a community that is focused on social, economic, and environmental sustainability. We run a variety of events and workshops that aim to connect students to members of the sustainability community.
FF: What made you interested in joining SIB and where does your passion for sustainability come from?
SIB: I am personally passionate about the environment and sustainability and felt since I didn’t learn too much about it in high school or in my program at university, it was an opportunity to deepen my knowledge. I loved the community SIB has created both with students and industry professionals and it has added another layer of education for me on top of my classes.
FF: What are SIB’s overall goals?
SIB: Our major goal is to educate students about sustainability through events, workshops, and social media posts. Some of our posts consist of sustainable spotlight and tips that people can apply to their day to day life. Another goal we have is advocating and inspiring students to learn about the benefits of sustainability, as we want people to know the club is for anyone to join, not just people who have an interest in sustainability.
FF: Tell us more about the “Volunteer” Section on your website and how you developed those connections with local organizations?
SIB: These volunteer opportunities that we are able to promote on our website came about through a partnership with Sustainability Waterloo Region where they have been able to share with us volunteer opportunities that are available in our local community. Unfortunately due to COVID most of the volunteer opportunities have been primarily online, but we want to continue finding more volunteer opportunities and foster involvement from within the student body.
FF: Pre-Covid what sort of events did SIB run and which one was your favourite?
SIB: We have a yearly flagship event called “Careers in Sustainability” that has a variety of speakers from different industries and positions, talking about how sustainability ties in with all aspects of life and business. In the past we have also done partnered events with other clubs like an event called “Impact Investing” where we partnered with LIFA to show what types of companies you can invest in that have a sustainable angle. These events have been valuable for us to show how sustainability is involved in all walks of life and business.
FF: What were some of the challenges for the club the last year and a half with the pandemic?
SIB: We experienced some challenges with virtual events as engagement was more difficult, as well we noticed people were experiencing zoom fatigue with everything now on zoom. We also dealt with technical issues during some of our events which are unavoidable and out of our control unfortunately, which made networking more challenging. As well, without being able to set up a booth on campus it placed a greater importance on social media to attract new members. With the shift to using social media more there was more collaboration and cross promoting done by clubs. One positive of COVID was geography no longer mattered for events, since they were done online. This allowed us to get speakers from different areas of the country and world that we would never normally be able to get for an in person event.
FF: What’s been your highlight so far of being a part of SIB?
SIB: Definitely just the people I have been able to meet whether that be other students or industry professionals, it has really expanded my horizons and helped me learn a lot. As well, it has helped me develop soft skills such as communication, as well as other life skills and connections.
FF: Why should students join SIB?
SIB: Sustainability is not in one single box, so there is a ton of value for students to learn about sustainability as there is integration in any industry. As well, involvement in SIB not only helps make you more well rounded, but will be valuable with the way the world is going and the long run value of this knowledge is bound to increase.
FF: Thank you for your time! If you are looking for a club to join this Fall please consider joining SIB and check out their website and social media pages below:
You can also email them at email@example.com for more information.