What is the sustainability committee? 

A conversation with Victoria Downy, Anoka Ramey’s Sustainability Committee co-chair.


ARCC Campus Eye Staff

A honeybee perched on a flower located in a field by ARCC

Sara Ruiz Gonzalez, Contributing Writer

The Sustainability Committe is an organization formed by faculty, staff, and students, that works on promoting environmental health and well-being throughout the college. 

Victoria Downy is one of the two co-chairs of the Sustainability Committee at Anoka Ramsey Community College. We had the opportunity to interview her in one of the most recent episodes of The Campus Ear, our student podcast. 

“We sit in an interesting position because sustainability touches everything,” Downy said, “it touches academics, it touches facilities, it touches curriculum, it touches student services.” 

Downy explained how sustainability is not only environmental, but it is also social and economic. The organization works on creating a healthier ecosystem and a healthier community in an affordable way. 

Decreasing emissions, obtaining solar energy, and creating new learning pathways in the realm of environmental science, are only a few of the things that the Committee is currently working on.  

“A number of years ago, when the committee was relatively new, we did pass some policy on environmental sustainability through the college, and it basically directs us as the committee to try to do things that will help everybody in the community moving into the future.” 

One of the recent developments of the committee was creating an introduction to sustainability class and a sustainability certificate, which are now available to students. 

Initially, the committee was focused on the coon rapids campus since that is where the organization is based, but recently they have been working with the Cambridge campus as well.  

Students who join the Committee meet once a month with the other members to offer suggestions, discuss ideas, and if they want to, take on projects.  

Downy is also the advisor of the sustainability club, which is currently not meeting.  

“When we had our first [online] meeting only a couple of people actually showed up, and so to have a club you kind of need a little bit more robust membership than that” she explained.  

Just like many other clubs on campus, the sustainability club struggled to organize meeting schedules that worked for all those who were interested. Downy encouraged those who were able to participate to become members of the committee.  

She stated that “there is a lot of crossover between the club and the committee.”  

Many times, the ideas come from club members and the committee works on making them reality, since it has the ability to make bigger systematic changes. Club members can also work along with the committee on projects and events. 

Before Covid-19, the sustainability club would meet in person and participate in events like the march for science, vegan food sampling, seed bombs, and others.  

“I’m hopeful that in the future we’ll be able to make the club active again.” Downy said. 

During the interview, Downy talked about the club, the committee, and sustainability as her passion. She believes everyone should be involved in sustainability because it impacts different important aspects of our lives. 

“There’s so many ways that you can really think about sustainability in whatever discipline you happen to be in, or whatever you interest happens to be, and you can make it a part of your life” 

Anyone who is interested in joining the committee or wants more information can email Downy at [email protected], or Lisa Becker at [email protected]. You can also follow the committee on Instagram @arccsustainability, and visit their website sustainabilityarcc.com.