5Cs form ‘RegEn’ sustainability coalition

A group of nine college students sits in and stands around a tree smiling and laughing with each other.
RegEn, a group formed this year to bring sustainability leaders together from across the 5Cs, contains members from student governments, EcoReps and sustainability clubs. (Talia Bernstein • The Student Life)

For the first time in history, the 5Cs have formed a unified sustainability coalition with representatives from all the Claremont Colleges called RegEn.

The coalition’s goal is to create a lasting partnership among the 5Cs to foster collaboration and create a more centralized and powerful movement to withstand the high turnover of student activists who leave after graduation, Eric Warmoth CM ’22 said.

RegEn, which stands for “regenerative environmentalism,” includes sustainability representatives from each of the five student governments (ASHMC Senate, Scripps Associated Students, ASCMC Senate, ASPC and Pitzer Student Senate) and different clubs on campus, according to Emily Kuhn PZ ’22, a Pitzer sustainability representative. 

The group also includes Pomona College’s EcoReps, Engineers for a Sustainable World, Scripps College’s Environmental Education and Development, Claremont McKenna College’s EcoReps and members of Sunrise Claremont Colleges, a local chapter of a nationwide environmental movement, according to Kuhn and Maggie Thompson SC ’20, Scripps’ sustainability chair.

“The institutions have a responsibility to acknowledge their roles as educators and entities that produce a lived experience for students … They are complicit in maintaining a framework in which the natural world stands marginal. It should be fundamental.”  – Maggie Thompson SC ’20

It hasn’t been officially registered as a club yet, according to Kuhn, but eventually wants to institutionalize so that “every year no matter what” the environmental representatives continue to meet, according to Kuhn. 

“The whole point of [RegEn] is for us to come together and share what each of our schools is working on, what our struggles are and how we can all help fill in the gaps for each other and work collectively to make our work more powerful,” Kuhn said.

RegEn started as a group chat between campus sustainability leaders at the beginning of the past fall semester as a way to get to know each other, RegEn member Julia McCartan SC ’21 said. 

“It was totally time for these groups to unite and understand each other more,” McCartan said. “It doesn’t make sense for sustainability to be divided among the campuses.”

Andrew Bradjan CM ’22 and Warmoth, along with other environmental justice student activists at CMC and across the 5Cs, are part of this sustainability coalition. 

“The best thing for sustainability that can happen is working with the other colleges to boost each other up,” Bradjan said. 

Thompson said she hopes the coalition will create a “cultural shift” to ingrain environmentalism into the 5Cs.

“The institutions have a responsibility to acknowledge their roles as educators and entities that produce a lived experience for students,” she said. “… They are complicit in maintaining a framework in which the natural world stands marginal. It should be fundamental.”

Six college students stand on a grass lawn in row smiling at the camera.
Timothy Liu PO ’22, Maggie Thompson SC ’20, Skylar Gering HM ’22, Ingrid Tsang HM ’22, Emily Kuhn PZ ’22 and Eric Warmoth CM ’22 are the 5C student government sustainability representatives. (Talia Bernstein • The Student Life)

ASHMC sustainability directors Skylar Gering HM ’22 and Ingrid Tsang HM ’22, are both members of the coalition and hope to integrate initiatives as early as first-year orientation to “make it as easy as possible to make sustainable choices” at Harvey Mudd College, Gering said.

These initiatives, Tsang said, would include setting guidelines for running events sustainably, expanding support for the Hixon Center for Sustainable Environmental Design — which provides courses, research and data gathering on sustainability, according to HMC spokesperson Judy Augsburger — and creating a full-time sustainability office. 

Warmoth and Bradjan also hoped RegEn could push for sustainability coordinators and offices to be hired at Mudd, Pitzer College and CMC. 

McCartan also hopes to push Scripps to hire a full-time sustainability coordinator. Institutionalizing long-term sustainability offices and policies can aid and encourage students to make better environmental choices, Tsang said.

Tsang said “the student body really does care” and that she hopes to utilize RegEn in “integrating sustainability into every aspect of our lives instead of a separate thing, or something that seems inconvenient.”

Thompson agreed.

“Students are demanding that our lives on these campuses reflect the truth that the climate is changing, the truth that we are complicit and the truth that we have the agency here to act on that change,” she said. “We have agency to create the place that we want to live in.”

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