Village Green Preservation Society
In 1968, British Invasion rockers The Kinks released the song “Village Green Preservation Society.” Coming at a time that is often remembered for its massive social changes, the song was a manifesto for embracing change while safeguarding traditional ways of living. The chorus goes: “Preserving the old ways from being abused / Protecting the new ways for me and for you / What more can we do? / God save the village green.”
In 2006, anthropology major Andrew Gerard founded ACTION, a student-led organization dedicated to getting Andrews University students involved with social activism. It was established with the plan of educating students on social issues and then giving them the opportunity to act. One major social issue ACTION addressed was the environment, and as support for the cause swelled, the environmental group grew into its own organization. Last year, Ben Oliver, a history major, assumed responsibility for leading the band of environmentalists. As a group dedicated to maintaining the ecological welfare of the campus, they called themselves the “Village Green Preservation Society” (VGPS).
The VGPS hopes to accomplish this through a two-fold approach: first, by educating students on environmental issues, and second, by openly acting on these issues on campus. To educate, VGPS holds regular student assemblies to watch documentaries, discuss environmental issues and listen to guest speakers on the subject. They even have a Facebook page, which gets updated with information for college students on subjects like “How to Green Your Dorm Room.”
In terms of practical involvement, VGPS holds regular events such as campus cleanups to improve the environmental state of the school. Furthermore, with the goal of having a long-term effect, VGPS has taken active measures to improve campus policy on environmental issues. A major goal of VGPS is to get the cafeteria to replace Styrofoam take-out trays with biodegradable containers. Another initiative has been to establish a centralized recycling program on campus, in order to more efficiently process the tremendous amounts of paper and plastic waste generated by the university.
Response from students has been extremely positive, with over 120 students joining VGPS at this fall’s campus clubs fair and many more attending assemblies and events. VGPS has clearly filled a need for environmentally conscious students at Andrews University to take action and make their voices heard.
“I am involved in the Village Green Preservation Society because I believe it is important to preserve and renew,” says Melody Johnson, a senior architecture major and social director of VGPS. “Our environment has limited natural resources and I think it is important to establish awareness amongst the students of Andrews University.”
God save the village green.
-Robert Moncrief, Office of Integrated Marketing & Communication student writer