In a two-hour event last Friday, Students for a Sustainable Stanford (SSS) celebrated its 10th anniversary, reflecting on its past and detailing its goals for the future. The event featured speeches from current leaders Siddhartha Oza ’11 and Molly Oshun ’11, as well as former president John Mulrow ’09 and Julie Kennedy, a senior lecturer in the School of Earth Sciences.
“We want to be able to have SSS be around for the next 10 years, for the next 50 to 100 years,” Oza said in an interview with The Daily. “So taking a minute at the 10-year benchmark to look back and look forward gives us an opportunity to understand what change in continuity, in the context of sustainability, is really about.”
SSS recently became one of three student-led, Haas-affiliated service organizations and focuses on four areas in sustainability: climate, water, recycling and environmental justice.
Past SSS projects include campaigns for a “sustainable civilization” course requirement, policies to improve campus waste management and a “production farm.”
One of Sustainable Stanford’s largest ongoing projects is Lotus One, a proposed “green dorm” that has been in the works since 2002. Lotus One would not only provide sustainable housing, but would also function as a forum for sharing ideas and increasing environmental awareness.
“What’s really the most important thing is that it’s an incubator for student ideas,” said Alex Luisi ’12, one of two student representatives working on the project. “We test them out there and we’ll be able to scale their ideas out to the real world so that we have more of an impact than just on campus.”
The planners envision Lotus One being located behind Casa Italiana. Although funding issues have slowed its progress, it may be executed in the next two years.
In addition to continued work on Lotus One, SSS has a variety of other short-term goals. These include organizing “visioneARTh,” a festival to be held in the spring, and raising student awareness about SSS projects and the broader topic of sustainability. Attracting new students to continue SSS’s legacy as the largest and most active environmental group on campus is another important priority.
“I was looking for a group that was involved with sustainability efforts in Stanford and reaching outside of Stanford,” said Sharon Tan ’14. “What attracted me to SSS was its energy. People here were really passionate and open.”