While, climate change may not have been on the forefront of student’s minds this finals season BananaFest and an unsuspecting Business Law assignment brought climate issues to campus. Conversations about the COP 21 in Paris this December were fairly limited on campus, aside from responses to social media posts by the student delegation to the conference. However, on Friday, December 11th at the Alpha Tau Omega Fraternity house, sophomore Aidan Williams hosted BananaFest an event in honor of the delicious fruit. The event featured loaves and loaves of banana bread and was crowded with around fifty students, including graduate students and a professor. Aidan was inspired to host the event after being told by his Food, Health, and Society professor, Dr. Cassandra Quave, that he should enjoy his bananas while he could. Dr. Quave presented a mini-lecture at 12 Eagle Row Friday night informing the eager crowd of students about the risks to their beloved fruit. The current breed of bananas is in danger from panama disease that is quickly spreading across the tropics. A lack of bio-diversity of banana crops and climate change will exasperate the situation. The event was well received with over 40 posts on the BananaFest Facebook page and non-stop student questions during the Dr. Quave’s lecture.
Another climate change centric actively I encountered on campus during the first 12 days of December was an assignment to develop a sustainable business for my Business Law course. The Legal Environment of Business course at Goizueta is a core requirement taking by all students, usually in their senior year. The class is taught by Professor Allison Burdette and is beloved by many students, although not during exam season. Burdette worked as an environmental lawyer before teaching. The final assignment aims for students to apply the different legal structures of business organizations to setting up a sustainable business. While, the focus may not have been solely on sustainability, the assignment and additional coursework on environmental law pushes every business student to consider these issues and the capability of businesses to address climate issues before leaving Emory and entering the professional world.
Emory students may not be locked in their dorms attempting to solve climate change or studying every word of the Paris agreement, however there were some promising efforts to raise climate consciousness on campus in the last couple of weeks of this semester. I am excited to see the impact of the delegation in their attempts to bring back the conference next semester.