During the fall 2020 semester, Dr. Ela Przybylo taught the ENG 460 Feminist Literary Theories class with a themed focus on “Apocalyptic Feminisms.” One of the assignments asked students to work alone and in groups to create project proposals towards applying for funding with the Office of Sustainability. In this we received advising support from Director of the Office of Sustainability Elisabeth Reed. Three groups presented their projects to the Office of Sustainability, and because of their innovative ideas, team-work, and organizational forethought, all three graduate student groups successfully received funding for a combined total of over $27,000.
“Sustainability and the Soul” combines Black feminist approaches to wellness, yoga, and plant-based diets with sustainability efforts and will feature two events, a zoom cooking class for which 100 ISU participants will be able to get free meal boxes and a yoga lesson, for which 100 ISU participants will be able to get free yoga mats. This incredible project was piloted in the “Apocalyptic Feminisms” class by Teigha Van and was expanded to include Shawna Sheperd, Faith Borland, Anna Ortiz, and Becca Meier – all of whom collaborated on the proposal development. This project has been awarded $15,350 by the Office of Sustainability. This event will take place in February during Black History Month.
The second group, “Free Reusable Menstrual Products, Period.” was piloted by Charley Koenig in the “Apocalyptic Feminisms” class and was co-developed by Natalie Jipson, Alexis Adams, Emily Fontenot, and Alice Vermillion. It involves launching a campaign at ISU to provide reusable menstrual gear in the form of reusable cups and menstrual underwear/boxers to people of all genders, thus helping reduce plastic waste from disposable menstrual wear. Importantly, this group argued that menstrual gear is a human right and that it should be available to all those who menstruate. The group has been awarded $7,865.98. This event will take place in March during “Menstrual March.”
The third group, “Redbirds Keep Sipping” is aimed at reducing plastic waste on and off campus by building more sustainable habits through encouraging reusable straw usage. Participants will receive a pack of reusable straws with ISU logos on them and will also be connected to a website that includes tips on reducing plastic usage more broadly and on the negative impacts plastics have on our environment. This proposal was piloted by Serenah Minasian who was joined by co-developers Edcel J. Cintrón-Gonzalez and Alexa Parker. The group has been awarded $3,990. The reusable straws will be distributed throughout the Spring 2021 semester.
We are all happy to celebrate all three brilliant groups in their innovative strategies to improve sustainability at ISU with an attention to how sustainability intersects with gender justice, racial justice, and environmental justice.