I still remember the first time I ever heard about Greenthumb as a freshman in 2013. Former member Brock Meade was petitioning outside of the old student center and asked me to sign in support of developing a climate action plan at UK. Later, in the fall of 2014, I sought out Greenthumb at the student organization fair and met Caroline Engle who was tabling for Greenthumb that day. I started going to meetings and fell in love with the group’s mission and work, the sense of purpose it gave me, and the amazing people who were involved. Greenthumb helped me feel the empowerment I had been looking for and introduced me to an even bigger network of Kentuckians working for a better future.
Greenthumb helped me see that when students stand up and unite we can make a real difference on college campuses. It has certainly made a difference at UK. Greenthumb started in 1993 and is the oldest student run environmental organization in Kentucky. I am so thankful for those Greenthumb members who came before me and poured time, work and dedication into this group. The foundation of activism that they built paved the way for our campaign to get UK to reduce its GHGs.
Since 2014, when I got involved, Greenthumb has hosted multiple actions to ramp up pressure on the university. We hosted “Listen to You Students Rally” last spring that united over one hundred students, faculty and other community members in the fight for a climate action plan. Members met with president Capilouto to discuss all the positive impacts of signing on to a climate action plan. We won the support of Student Government, which voted in support of the climate action plan. The President's Sustainability Advisory Committee also joined Greenthumb in the fight for a climate action plan. All of these campaign steps made our victory possible.
Greenthumb works not only to improve the environment but also to empower students to get involved. I hope that this victory will inspire even more students to get involved on their college campuses and make the change they want to see.