The Marine Conservation Society: Helping students and the environment

Beth Beaudry, Student Life Editor

The Marine Conservation Society is not simply a club, rather it is a group of students who strive to help the environment. Their mission is to educate the campus community on the environment and issues such as climate change. In a pre-COVID-19 world, the organization held beach cleanups, water bottle exchanges (where students can return 15 plastic water bottles for a reusable one) and more.

Recently, the organization has been working with sustainability office director Laura Miller to work on Campus Race to Zero Waste, a national competition, that includes Canada, where participating colleges can track the waste they produce, and try to create a plan on how to reduce waste.

Now, to abide by COVID-19 guidelines, the organization is focusing on virtual, educational events. They have held events such as, “Ways to go green during quarantine,” which educated attendees on ways to practice sustainability even during quarantine.

In previous years, the organization dedicated one week in the school year to their cause: Marine Week. It would typically include beach clean-ups, a whale watch, and other marine-themed events. While the organization does not yet know what they will be able to do for Marine Week this year, because of the pandemic, they are still planning to host the annual week from April 18 to 24.

It is recommended that students interested in attending weekly meetings follow the Marine Conservation Society Instagram and Charger Connection accounts to receive updates on Marine Week.

Along with their goal to educate and improve the environment, the organization is a way for members with a marine-based major to network with new peers and is a place to earn additional experience relating to their discipline.

“Being a marine biology major has helped because we learn a lot of this stuff in our classes, about how to take care of the environment, what’s wrong with the environment currently. And we’re relaying that to our club members,” said senior marine biology major Sam Alaimo.

“I think being in Conservation really fosters a community where we can help each other because it’s within our majors or between our majors,” said sophomore marine biology major Hailey Perez. “There’s a lot of cross-sectionality between marine bio and marine affairs, so even if you have a slightly different major, you can still find a lot of assistance within this club.”

While the work of the organization is targeted towards individuals with a marine-based major, it is not a requirement to be in the club. Alaimo said that being in the organization has been a great way to meet those within her major and those who are not, but share the same passion for marine life.

“We have people of different majors passionate about marine biology and marine conservation as a whole, so it’s a great way for outreach, community service,” said Alaimo.