Written by: MJ Watkins
Miami University is home to over 700 student clubs and organizations, all aiming to engage students and deepen their connection to the communities around them. Many of these reside in the realm of environmentalism—including GreenHawks Media!
Anyone can create a club or organization on Miami’s campus with almost any idea. Here are a few of our favorites!
The Miami University Marine Biology Club is one of the newer organization on campus: students Meghan Turner and Alexia Zylko founded the group in 2021. Both currently serve as co-presidents, with a passion and interest in marine life and environmentalism.
According to Zylko, a senior biology major, “We wanted to start [a] club and make a place for students to come together and do something ocean and sustainability related. There wasn't anything here before.”
While meeting topics change often, a typical one involves a presentation that members are able to interact with and talk about issues in marine biology and sustainability. The Marine Biology Club will also often do service projects, and host guest speakers from organizations in California and Florida who are doing work in the field of marine biology.
“Adding a service chair was a big thing for us. It started with just trash and river clean ups on our own in our community and bigger events like the Clean Sweep in the Little Miami River. We also do local outreach in elementary schools in the area to talk about recycling and ways to keep our waterways clean,” said Zyklo.
This semester, the Marine Biology Club is focusing on creating bins for used and broken fishing line. Anglers can safely put their used fishing lines in the bins to keep waste from entering local waterways and causing harm to marine life.
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Green Gamersis an organization devoted to teaching Miami students about environmentalism and sustainability in a unique way— through video games!
“A lot of it is us making a safe space to talk about sustainability, and at the end of the day we are [a] social club. Even if students don’t care about nature, playing games like Eco Park and Stardew Valley are still super fun and interesting,” said president Bunny Fernandes, a senior zoology major.
While building relationships and community on campus is the club’s first mission, sustainability and the environment are a close second.
Green Gamers holds several events each semester to focus more on environmentalism and sustainability, including RECON with Miami's League of Geeks; and the Sustainability Shindig, which takes place the week before Earth Day in Armstrong Student Center.
The shindig is Green Gamers biggest event of the spring and pulls together a diverse crowd from other groups such as the League of Geeks crowd the Student Sustainability Council. The event will have games, snacks and be a great way for students to network and collaborate with each other.
Leaders of Environmnetal Awareness and Protection (LEAP) is a organization that acts locally and thinks nationally about environmental and sustainability issues.
“Our main goal is to create a safe space for everyone to learn about environmental issues going on and make conscious decisions. We want to be building knowledge not just acting—understanding why it [the environment] is important and vital before anything else,” said president Lauren Halperin, a junior psychology major.
LEAP is designed to provide an informal space for students interested in the environment to share knowledge and learn from each other on practical ways to live a more sustainable lifestyle.
A typical meeting will involve a discussion based on a topic members choose collaboratively. LEAP covers issues on campus such as how to be sustainable while living in the dorms and be more environmentally friendly; broader, more real-world issues such as greenwashing and food sustainability.
“LEAP gives me a chance to learn about the environment outside the classroom. Our members come from all different majors and years so it creates an interesting learning environment,” said Halperin.
LEAP typically holds a few events each semester, such as hiking in Hueston Woods or picking up trash around uptown with Zero Waste Oxford.
This semester LEAP will be getting a tour of Moon Co-Op, a local grocer with a mission to educate the public and partner with local producers to provide better and more sustainable food for customers' table.
LEAP’s most popular event, and a club favorite, is held at the end of every fall semester where they get together to talk about sustainible gift giving and ways to be eco-friendly during the holiday season.
With more than 700 student clubs and organizations on Miami's campus, there really is something for everyone. You can check out these clubs and many more over on the university's HUB page.