“I want to get people fired up:” Liz Adkisson describes the inspiration behind the Sustainability Collective

Liz Adkisson wore a pink monochrome outfit as she reclined on a couch in the Sustainability Office on Wednesday, February 22nd. Adkisson, a sustainability major and coordinator for the Sustainability Team, described the inspiration behind the Sustainability Collective, which had its first meeting last October. “A lot of people feel disillusioned by the difficult news floating around social media and in the news,” she told the Siskiyou. “Because people are lacking hope and community, they don’t want to do anything about these issues. Fear and apathy cause immobility. People become stagnant.” Southern Oregon University is known for its efforts toward becoming an eco-friendly, sustainable campus. In 2019, SOU received the national “Excellence and Innovation Award” for sustainability from the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, and the Sustainability Team in the Social Justice and Equity Center bolsters student efforts towards sustainability.

Adkisson noticed that despite these efforts, there were no clubs specifically pertaining to activism and sustainability at SOU. She sought to create a space that would foster hope and community through art and conversation. So far, the collective has made collages, learned to bunt, created zines, participated in basket weaving with indigenous community members, and taken part in many other fun crafts. The Collective gathers craft supplies from other departments around campus and is open to donations. In the future, Adkisson hopes the Collective can take on even larger projects, like documentaries or regular magazine publications.

Adkisson clarified why she founded a collective rather than a club. A collective is based in the community, which takes place during “face-to-face interactions with people you normally wouldn’t talk to.” This includes individuals and organizations outside of SOU. She incorporates a diverse range of subjects, including but not limited to mental health, feminism, and climate change. The Collective has heard from Rogue Climate, the Northwest Seasonal Workers Association, the Synthesis Institute, As You Like It, as well as other community organizations pertaining to a wide array of subjects. “You never know what’s gonna spark someone’s flame,” Adkisson said, “and I want to get people fired up.”

The Collective’s latest project, SOUPs Magazine, is comprised of artistic submissions related to the collective’s goals. The magazine will feature poetry, photography, articles, and other forms of media, including recipes for the soup itself. SOUPs Magazine will be published on March 1 and will appear at the Oregon Fringe Festival between April 26 and April 30. The Fringe Festival takes place at the Oregon Center for the Arts at Southern Oregon University.

The Sustainability Collective meets every Wednesday in the Social Justice and Equity Center (SU 308) between 5:30 and 7 PM. In addition to crafts, the collective supply food for those attending. Its mission statement reads as follows: “To craft and create art, share your ideas on campus sustainability, environmental and social justice, activism, and personal wellness. These weekly meet-ups are designed to foster a culture of responsibility, collaboration, and empowerment through constructive conversations and art. We will meet in the Social Justice and Equity Center SU 308 and will provide snacks, music, and FUN! Tell your friends and mark your calendars, now is the time to connect with the community and embrace your inner “craftivist!” 

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