Sustainability in the OA and at NOAC
By Joseph Barnes
In May 2017, the National Order of the Arrow Committee adopted a commitment statement acknowledging sustainability as the practice of environmental stewardship highlighted in the second tenet of the OA’s purpose.
By focusing on sustainability, NOAC 2018 will be the first-ever “low-waste” conference. The NOAC Sustainability Committee is working to deliver sustainability program as well as logistical efforts to reduce the overall environmental impact of the conference. Prior to the conference, the team worked with Indiana University’s Office of Sustainability to arrange for a zero-waste dining experience, reusable water bottles for every delegate and staff member, and recycling throughout the conference.
One of the biggest questions the committee has faced at this conference has been about the size of the plates in the dining halls. In order to prevent food waste as seen at past conferences, the university is serving meals on smaller plates, which are also compostable. However, small plates don’t need to mean small meals. The Sustainability Committee is encouraging delegates to practice sustainability with an “all you care to eat” model. Delegates may return multiple times for additional servings, which should result in less food being thrown away. From the widespread use of refillable water bottles and reduction of food waste, all delegates can choose their destiny of producing the most environmentally friendly conference yet. With over 7,000 delegates attending the conference, each small action adds up to a huge impact. By carrying these choices back home, Arrowmen will contribute to a national movement towards responsible and sustainable leadership.
Help to Decide Your Destiny by learning about the OA’s sustainability efforts at Adventure Central’s Sustainability Central booth in the NOAC Experience tent. Delegates can learn how to reduce water and energy use by taking sustainability training sessions with a raised awareness from the #OASustainability team. Be a leader and take action now by tagging your sustainability activities on all your social media. By considering the long-term impacts of our actions today, delegates can foster a culture of environmental stewardship with our examples and practices.