The Green Society is an environmental-based organization at UTSA. They revolve around advocating for topics such as sustainability and respect for the environment.
“I feel like the greatest thing we offer is camaraderie [and] friendship,” said Karina Guthmann.
Guthmann, a proud environmentalist and vice president of the Green Society, joined the organization three years ago. She stayed with the organization because of the kindness of the board and members. Guthmann felt it was easy to fit in because they all shared similar interests and views on the environment.
Each semester, The Green Society goes camping twice: one trip for all members and the other for active members. This is a great opportunity for new members, especially those who have never been camping before. In order to participate, members must pay a $40 membership fee and have seven active membership points. Payment covers two meals and camping registration, and active member points can be earned by going to events, general meetings or tables. The Green Society encourages group participation in filing events; these events promote interaction with the board as well as potential members.
“Members will meet the seven-point requirement if they attend every meeting,” Guthmann said.
The association is also involved in voluntary work. The board tries to get as many volunteer opportunities as possible, so members can help their community and even earn volunteer hours. According to Guthmann, the Green Society is a great place for new members to meet people who want to help and restore the environment while creating, developing and maintaining friendships.
The Green Society has nine officers: President, Vice President, Garden Manager, Volunteer Coordinator, Public Relations Manager, Garden Coordinator, Treasurer, Events Coordinator and Communications Manager. Guthmann, a vice president for two years, says the president and vice president take on similar roles because they both lead the organization and hold people accountable for their work.
“I just make sure people do what they’re supposed to do,” Guthmann said.
Guthmann also has other duties such as posting on the organization’s GroupMe, monitoring their social media, and researching ideas for the organization.
“As vice president, I feel like I have a lot more confidence in my ability to delegate, which is really great,” Guthmann said.
Recently, Guthmann was hired for a rotational position with the Office of Sustainability. She works on many specific projects, such as efficient on-campus composting, and says the job fits her position as vice president.
Guthmann believes that maintaining the health of our environment is crucial.
“The environment is everywhere, but it’s not something that people think about and ignore in their daily lives, which is kind of sad,” Guthmann said.
She goes on to explain that, for example, people can litter and don’t realize it’s destructive to the environment until it’s too late.
“They are not necessarily malicious; they just live their life and they don’t know it’s wrong.
Guthmann says becoming an environmentalist has been very different in his personal life. She received questions from her mother on topics like plastic and whether recycling all plastics is acceptable. According to Guthmann, not all plastics can really be recycled. If you eat from a plastic food container, you must rinse it before recycling it. Guthmann remembers his mother being shocked by his explanation.
Guthmann thinks educating children is important because they will be the future generation that could bring about change and create better policies. She brought to light the idea that we are starting over. We have realized that some of our habits harm the environment and even the planet. She believes in the importance of education, especially since climate change is a topical issue.
Guthmann believes in the perseverance of humanity to solve the many environmental problems we face today. For example, a small group of activists called Grassroots Efforts are making their voices heard in the community and talking about issues that need to change because many big companies won’t.
“These small but very passionate people are what will make the change,” Guthmann said.
She says the Green Society has a climate strike on its radar soon. In the past, they’ve gone to events in San Antonio to get active and show that they’re a student-run organization trying to make a difference.
“I think it would be really great to have a lot of people join just because it would be cool to have all those people with the same mindset, but The Green Society is for everyone at all levels. environmentalism,” Guthmann said.
Guthmann explained that the organization is a great place for new environmentalists to start thinking about the environment and how to be more environmentally friendly. They are an intersectional organization, which means they care about the planet and people.
“Everyone is welcome here, it’s a safe space and we just have our little niches, our little passions and we want to share them with you and it all happens to be centered around the environment,” Guthmann said. .
The Green Society table every Monday from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Their general meetings take place every Tuesday at 7 p.m. They announce the current venue on Instagram every week. Their events are posted on their Instagram and new members will also be added to their GroupMe. They have camping later this semester and a UIW volunteer event every last Saturday of the month.