One Student’s Journey to Address Sustainability through a Vegan Lifestyle

This post was written by Margaret Arzon, SEMBA ’17

“It’s better to light one candle than curse the darkness. I think that’s where movements are started.”

– Shawn Heinrichs

Margaret feeding a cow in Haridwar, India

Growing up I would not touch anything that even resembled a vegetable. My Puerto-Rican and Cuban roots offered daily dishes of fried meat or chicken with rice and beans. At 21, I stopped eating meat for health reasons which slowly transformed into ethical concerns. Three years later, I read a book called “Vegan Freak” which revealed to me the atrocities and environmental havoc of not just the meat industry, but dairy and eggs as well. Sometimes once you know something, there is no degree of feigning ignorance that could turn you away from the truth. I immediately eliminated all animal products from my life, including eggs, dairy, wool and leather. People around me told me I was silly, expressed concern for a lack of protein and gave disapproving looks with my lunch plate filled with just veggies. However, I knew the only way to save our dying planet was to stop pillaging that which is not ours to take.

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The “SEMBAllers”: Winter 2017 CoRec B-League Broomball Legends

This post was written by Ted Carrick, SEMBA ’17

Broomball is a game of grace and athleticism removed. Remaining are only uncoordinated attempts to slap a mini soccer ball into a hockey net with a small plastic “broom,” on ice, in sneakers!

Some SEMBA students and other UVM undergrads formed a squad with the intention of enjoying a weekly moment of respite from their studies, a fun way to get some exercise, and have a few laughs. But the team did more than that. They broomed their way through the regular season 2-0-1!  With a no-loss regular season, the team’s confidence was high heading into the playoffs. The team had their eyes set on the prize: t-shirts branded with “SEMBAllers, 2017 Winter CoRec B-League Broomball Champions” across the chest.

Captain Brett Spusta, SEMBA ’17, sent out this inspirational email the day before their first playoff match:

“Hey team!

Big week! Playoff time! First game is tomorrow at 10pm, I know it is late, but we need to bring our A game. We are playing the Ball Sweepers, who we tied in the regular season. In play-offs, there are no ties; we will run some shoot out drills for warm up. Because it is so late, we have some time to run the tapes and do some strategy planning over a refreshing beverage before.

We need to carry big-mo with us from last week’s win. We are now in single elimination territory, if we lose we are done, if we win we play next Monday (2/27) at 9:15.   

“I know we have a test tomorrow, but broomball should be a priority.”

Remember: the champion team gets an intramural champion t-shirt! It is a coveted prize. I know we have a test tomorrow, but broomball should be a priority. LETS GET THE SHIRT! GET FIRED UP! We have come a long way; I am not ready to end our run now!

Stay hydrated, stay loose, and visualize yourself on the ice. Visualize yourself scoring the game winning shot, the high fives, the SEMBA pride. Wow: what a picture, what a story!  

 -Coach Brett

 P.S. Our name is officially SEMBAllers.”

What do the 2017 Super Bowl Champions New England Patriots, the 2004 World Series Boston Red Sox, and the 2017 SEMBAllers CoRec B-League broomball team have in common? Heart. Heart and grit. No, they were not all supreme champions of their sport, the SEMBAllers having lost in the first round of the playoffs to what proved to be insurmountable opposition. But the team nevertheless reveled in the joy of good natured competition, laughs, and friendship. They never gave up, and when it was over they high fived their opponents and congratulated each other on a game well played.

Hero’s get remembered, but legends never die: 2017 SEMBALLers CoRec B-League broomball team.

 

SEMBA, Women Leaders Gather to Work for Change

This post was written by Karen Barnett, SEMBA ‘17

To enact change, you need to know the actual problem. This statement is far from revolutionary, and perhaps it even sounds a bit boring. Yet not every organization dives deep to fully understand the issues it aims to address. Change the Story VT, however, is not one to fly past the diagnosing stage. Instead, the organization knows that data drives effective goals, without which meaningful change is impossible.

Tiffany Bluemle, Director of Change the Story VT, shared her inspiration last Thursday night at a gathering with SEMBA women and the Vermont Chapter of the International Women’s Forum (IWF), an organization that connects women leaders from all different fields to build better leadership for the future.

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Soft Skills Needed to Support your Sustainability Efforts

This post was written by Aditi Datta, SEMBA ’17, and former student editor of “The SEMBA Review.”

Erin Meezan

Erin Meezan,Vice-President of Sustainability at Interface, Inc. and member of the SEMBA Advisory Board, offered her insights and tips for success with the SEMBA class through the program’s Executive in Residence speaker series, in which leading-edge practitioners share their personal stories and perspectives with students.

Environmentally-friendly carpet manufacturer Interface is a progressive, innovative organization that leads the industry in its full commitment to sustainability. Yet, Erin Meezan still faces resistance and apprehension each day. Meezan’s specific tools, tips and skills are valuable assets to utilize in any career that challenges the status quo, and are especially relevant to SEMBA students.

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Coal: An Unsustainable Future

This post was written by Mike Rama, SEMBA ’17.

On Wednesday, February 1, the Senate passed a resolution to remove the Stream Protection Act, a decision that is certain to be stamped with the seal of approval by President Trump in the coming weeks. As summarized by Coal Age, a pro-coal mining news source:

“The final rule (Stream Protection Act) updated the 33-year-old regulations with stronger requirements for surface coal mining operations. The rule would require companies to restore streams and return mined areas to the uses they were capable of supporting prior to mining activities, and replant these areas with native trees and vegetation, unless that would conflict with the implemented land use. The rule requires the testing and monitoring of the condition of streams that might be affected by mining — before, during and after their operations — to provide baseline data that ensures operators can detect and correct problems that could arise, and restore mined areas to their previous condition.”

54 senators opposed the Stream Protection Act, arguing that the law was too burdensome and would kill jobs in the coal industry.

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Ecotourism in the Face of Sustainability Challenges

This post was written by Karen Barnett, SEMBA ’17

I am 40 feet below sea level at a coral reef site in the Bahamas, unsettled by the scene in front of me. Surrounded by marine life, 11 other tourists, and our scuba diving guides, I first notice one diver’s fins scrape the reef below as he attempts to steady himself. To my right, a diving guide taps a stingray so that the animal will swim away to the visitors’ delight. Another tourist feeds the fish, with feed sold directly from the dive shop.

The International Ecotourism Society defines ecotourism as “responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment, sustains the well-being of the local people, and involves interpretation and education.” These guidelines stand in contrast to my diving experience, soliciting tourists to enter nature as an observer, not an actor. The same way we don’t visit a national park and expect the weather to perfectly accommodate our schedule, we should not expect wildlife to show themselves for our entertainment.

“How much responsibility do businesses profiting from the natural environment have to enact ecotourism principles in their business models?”

How much responsibility do businesses profiting from the natural environment have to enact ecotourism principles in their business models? A great deal if they want their businesses to thrive in the future.

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From the Web: Can the New World Order Be Saved?

And the world tips slowly towards SEMBA…

The Only Way Forward, from the Foreign Policy Thinkers Blog:

“The rise of human agency also comes from the creation of
new professions. Social entrepreneurship and social-impact investing open wide, new vistas for individuals committed to solving global problems. As Roger Martin and Sally Osberg argue in their book, Getting Beyond Better, social entrepreneurs are distinct from direct social-service providers and social advocates. They “seek to shift a stable but suboptimal equilibrium in a way that is neither entirely mandated nor entirely market-driven. They create new approaches to old and pernicious problems. And they work directly to tip society to a new and better state.”

And…

“Social-impact investing has exploded from a few pioneers into a diverse ecosystem of boutique funds, philanthropic organizations, family offices, and large commercial banks. In Capital and the Common Good, author Georgia Levenson Keohane notes that nearly every mainstream financial institution, from Barclays to Bain Capital, now has a social or sustainable finance unit. The landscape is highly specialized by geography and issue area, ranging from small-business development to environmental and economic sustainability.”