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For Students

Students are an integral part of the sustainability efforts at SMU. SMU students have many opportunities to join campus organizations and programs that are directed to sustainability and environmental issues.  Here are some of the ways you can get involved:

Environmental Representatives (E-Reps)

SMU's Environmental Representatives - E-Reps for short - are 10 students who provide peer role modeling, serve as a resource on sustainability questions, and promote environmentally conscious behavior within their assigned residential communities.  E-Reps are sponsored by the SMU Sustainability Committee and supervised by staff from the Office of Residence Life and Student Housing.  Read more about the E-Reps here.

SMU Environmental Society

A Southern Methodist University student organization for encouraging life-long environmentally conscious behavior.  All students are welcome - like our Facebook Page and contact us.

Students for a Better Society (SBS)

SBS is a progressive SMU student organization interested in issues of social importance on our campus, community, and world.  We are involved in the environment, human rights, animal rights, and community service. Make a positive difference in your community. Join SBS!

Net Impact

Net Impact is an international nonprofit organization that works to encourage professionals and students to incorporate sustainability into their careers. Graduate students in the Cox School of Business have recently founded a Net Impact chapter at SMU with the mission of forming an umbrella for sustainable events at SMU. In only two years the chapter has grown to include around 35 members who meet several times a semester for networking opportunities, community service, and other sustainability events such as the annual Net Impact conference. Our chapter at SMU focuses on people, planet, and professional development and seeks to model each of their events around those tenets. Email to get involved!

Mustang Heroes

Mustang Heroes is a student group at SMU founded to amass a coalition of people that confront the major issues within their communities in an original effort to bring about a positive and enduring change, enriching lives through the facilitated advancement of hope, inspiration of confidence, and the inimitable development of leaders. Members of Mustang Heroes volunteer weekly at various service sites around the city of Dallas, click here to contact them and see how you can get involved!

Alternative Break Trips: Focus on Sustainability and Environmentalism

Alternative Breaks (AB) is a student organization offering direct service opportunities during every academic break, including fall, winter, spring and summer.  AB takes groups of students, student leaders, and a faculty/staff trip advisor to communities in need across the country and world to perform vital service with a range of organizations. Many of our trips planned for 2013-2014 will focus on sustainability.

Community Development 
In Austin, Texas we’ll be working with Blackland Community Development Corporation, a non-profit that supports Austin residents who earn less than 60% of the median income for Austin. Participants will serve in the Blackland Neighborhood by washing windows, painting, cleaning up the community playground, as well as assisting community members tend to their local garden.

Global Peace
In Indianapolis, Indiana we work with a grassroots community farm located in a low-income semi-urban neighborhood called Global Peace Initiatives. The purpose of the farm is to raise red wiggler worms in order to cultivate high-quality soil and compost for urban agriculture. During our time at Global Peace Initiatives in 2013, we planted onions for harvest, mended hoop houses, sifted soil, and built an aquaponics system. A typical day consisted of extremely informational manual labor, unlike any other work you've done! The dynamic of the work combined with constant learning makes for a beneficial experience for both breakers and the Indianapolis community.

Persons With Special Needs
In Kimberton, Pennsylvania we’ll be partnering with Camp Hill Kimberton to work alongside adults with special needs. Sometimes we’ll be working out on the farm and other times we might be assisting indoors with activities and workshops.

In Memphis, Tennessee we’ll partner with Living Lands and Waters where we’ll spend time on the Mississippi River removing debris such as tires and appliances that are damaging the habitat of the surrounding wildlife.

Sustainable Water
For the first time, we’ll be partnering with the Watershed Committee of the Ozarks in Springfield, Missouri to sustain and improve water resources, while learning about watersheds and sustainability.

For more information, contact:

Stephanie Howeth
Assistant Director, Community Engagement & Leadership Center
Hughes-Trigg Student Center, Suite 200

Big iDeas Program

SMU's Big iDeas Program, held annually under the sponsorship of the Office of the Provost, offers research grants for student-proposed ideas to address the challengs facing the Dallas area.  Following are the recent proposals related to sustainability:

Health Literacy Dallas, a continuation of a Big iDeas project that seeks to imporve interactions between doctors and patients.

  • Mary Corey (junior; mechanical engineering)
  • Austin Prentice (junior; chemistry and biology)
  • Matthew Gayer (junior; public policy and political science, with minors in biology and economics)
  • Michael Hammack (junior; finance and economics)
  • Stephen Armstrong (junior; engineering)
  • Patrick Probst (junior; biology)
  • Vincent Rossi (junior; biology)

Power of a Nation, which seeks to design an energy-efficient multipurpose workout machine that generates electricity.

  • James Matthew Parker (senior; marketing major, with a Spanish minor)
  • Connor Smith (first-year; mechanical engineering)
  • Joseph Esau (junior; electrical engineering)
  • Seth Dennis (junior; management)
  • Robin Hood (junior; mechanical engineering)
  • Zewen Qu (first-year; advertising)
  • Brett Legrow (junior; mechanical engineering)
  • Corbin Swagerty (junior; electrical engineering)

Solar Energy on Campus, an investigation of the feasibility of using solar energy to generate electricity and heat SMU's buildings and water.

  • Huanlu Chen (sophomore)

The SMU Geothermal Project, a multidisciplinary study evaluating the geologic, engineering, and financial feasibility of establishing a binary-cycle geothermal power plant on the SMU campus.

Real Fuel on Campus, a project designed to examine the feasibility of reducing emissions at SMU by using an on-campus processor to convert SMU food service waste vegetable oil to biodiesel.

The Dallas Application of Responsible Transportation, a project designed to examine how public transportation systems can work effectively for a city subject to urban sprawl.

Community Garden

The SMU Community Garden is maintained by Perkins School of Theology, the Facilities Management Department, and Sustainability.  Professor Elaine A. Heath, the McCreless Assistant Professor of Evangelism, provided the impetus for the garden.  Professor Heath's evangelism students worked the garden as a part of their coursework.