Sustainability Sundays: Plans that Save the Planet

Boston University's Net Impact hosts Sustainability Sundays at Boston's Blue State Coffee houseAre you looking for a new coffee shop, a new passion, or just plain “news?” What if we told you there’s somewhere you could go every Sunday for a taste of each? Read on to learn about a new green tradition at one of Boston’s greenest coffee shops.

What are your typical Sunday plans? Shopping? Family dinner? Reality TV? If you’re looking for something eye-opening and possibly world-changing, Boston University’s (BU) undergraduate student group, Net Impact, has a suggestion for you: stop by Blue State Coffee House at 8 p.m. and join the community for a stimulating conversation about the environment every week.

“Sustainability Sundays” is BU Net Impact’s most recent and promising project. BU Net Impact, a two-year-old BU club and chapter of the international non-profit organization, Net Impact, started the series this year after one of the group’s newest executive board members, Matthew Messer, decided to make the club more active since attendance at the club’s weekly meetings have been consistently low.

“The goal [of the meetings] is to bring together like-minded students to discuss a different sustainability topic every week,” another executive member, Becca Farmer said. “We want to create a community of students and engage them in a meaningful dialogue,” she said.

The group decided to hold the meetings at Blue State Coffee, a coffee chain dedicated to “philanthropy, sustainability and community involvement” as its mission states. The coffee shop, which donates 2 percent of its sales to local non-profit organizations that customers vote on, was the group’s first choice of meeting spots because of its sustainable business practices.

“[Blue State] roasts fair trade coffee and recycles and composts whenever possible,” Farmer said.

Ryan Ludwig, manager of the Blue State Coffee where the meetings take place, is excited to have the BU group meeting there every week. “Cafes are a traditional meeting place of people and ideas. It makes sense that current and future innovators of sustainable environmental and business practices would meet in a place like Blue State Coffee to discuss their ideas,” he said via email.

Sustainability Sunday topics have included U.S. energy investment policy and the Keystone XL pipeline so far. The group is open to suggestions for future topics and usually votes on them each week at the conclusion of a discussion.

That’s where you come in. If you’re not a BU student, you’re still welcome to attend the Sustainability Sundays series. BU Net Impact chose to hold the series at a public venue for that reason…and for the coffee. “All are welcome!” the group posted on its Facebook page in response to a student’s question.

“We love to have student and community groups using the cafe for functions like this…. We have a lot to share with each other,” Ludwig said.

If you’re interested in sharing with BU Net Impact and with Blue State Coffee check out their websites and see when the next Sustainability meeting will be held!

-Alivia Ashenfarb

Photo Credit: Flickr/Jellaluna