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Student Organizations and Activities


Environment and Conservation Organization (ECO),

formerly O.N.E., Belmont's Environmental Club, provides interaction with students across campus who are interested in environmental issues. Activities include river clean-ups, exotic plant removals, Earth Day awareness events, nature hikes, and environmentally-focused guest speakers. Dr. Darlene Panvini is the faculty advisor for ECO.

Belmont's ECO is on Facebook
Find us there to get more information on events throughout the year.

2017-2018 ECO Club Officers:

President -- Caroline Glover                                 
Vice-President -- Kylie Lawrence
Treasurer -- Tori Hongo

Spring 2018 Club Meetings and Activities
January 26 10:00 AM JAAC3081 ECO Club meeting
February 23 10:00 AM JAAC3081 ECO Club meeting
March 23 10:00 AM JAAC3081 ECO Club meeting
April 13 10:00 AM JAAC3081 ECO Club meeting
April 20 10:00 AM Chapel Earth Day Chapel with Jill Phillips, founder of A Rocha Arts -- co-sponsored by ECO Club

Belmont Celebrates Earth Day with Inaugural Sustainability Week
Students stand beside the Dogwood trees by The Belmont Store to celebrate Arbor Day.

Belmont University recently celebrated Earth Day 2018 with its inaugural Sustainability Week. Hosted by the University’s Sustainability Committee, the week-long celebration featured many events that provided opportunities for the Belmont community to engage in important conversations surrounding conservation.

The week began on Saturday, April 14 with a few events including a local creek clean-up and the screening of “Slow Food Story,” a documentary highlighting the benefits of locally grown food. On Monday, Assistant Professor of Biology Dr. Matthew Heard presented “Humans, Animals & Disease” to students on campus.

Wednesday’s events included a celebration of Arbor Day with an event recognizing some of Belmont’s recently planted trees, Dogwoods near The Belmont Store. Vice President of Finance & Operations Steve Lasley gave a presentation on the Dogwood, highlighting its blooms, history and more. Following this celebration, local birder Dr. Francis Fekel and Belmont Horticulturalist Mary Weber guided participants through campus on an urban tree and bird walk. Attendees learned more about the more than 100 tree species that find their home and Belmont’s campus and the countless birds that can be seen.

Wednesday evening, the week’s Keynote Address, “Fanning the Flame: Focusing Your Passion for Research into Disruptive Technology,” was presented by Dr. Tradd Cotter, microbiologist, professional mycologist and organic gardener.

Jill Phillips speaks in Chapel.

Jill Phillips speaks in Chapel

On Friday, the Belmont community continued their celebration of Sustainability Week by hosting an Earth Day Chapel service featuring Jill Phillips, a singer-songwriter and Belmont alumna who is the founder and leader of A Rocha Arts. On Saturday, the Belmont community concluded their celebration with the University Staff Advisory Council’s Family Field Day where families had the opportunity to watch Belmont baseball and softball games while planting seeds and learning more about conservation.

Environmental Science Students Participate in a Volunteer Service Event at Owl’s Hill Nature Sanctuary

Students volunteer at Owl's Hill

On April 11 and 12, students from Dr. Matthew Heard’s Introduction to Environmental Science classes participated in a volunteer service event at Owl’s Hill Nature Sanctuary.

During their time working at Owl’s Hill, students helped to plant native trees, remove invasive species and clean up the native plant education gardens. In total, 42 Belmont students volunteered over the two days.

flyer for the environmental science lecture
biology department speaker flyer

Students, Faculty Participate in Annual ReLeafing Day

More than 40 Belmont students and faculty members participated in the Nashville Tree Foundation’s ReLeafing Day on Saturday, November 18. Students from many groups across campus participated including First Year Seminar and Environmental Science Service Learning courses, the ECO club, Pembroke Hall, Kappa Psi Pharmacy Fraternity and Bridges to Belmont.

The annual volunteer event is held the Saturday before Thanksgiving and provides an opportunity for community members to plant trees throughout Nashville as a way to participate in conservation efforts. This year’s event was hosted at Croft Middle School. Throughout the day,volunteers helped plant more than 300 trees at 10 Metro schools and neighborhoods across South Nashville. Belmont students participated in plantings at Haywood Elementary School, Wright Middle School and a variety of neighborhood houses in South Nashville.

For more information about ReLeafing Day, click here.

The Urban Green Lab's Mobile Sustainability Lab visited campus on March 22nd to educate and inspire sustainability practices. Launched in February 2016, the lab explores 5 important topics in sustainability: energy, water, green building, food & agriculture, and sustainable transportation. It challenges students to make everyday choices that save money, resources, and improve their quality of life. 

Biology and Environmental Science Students Present Research at SEPEEG Conference

Southeast Population Ecology and Evolutionary Genetics Meeting
Associate Professor of Biology John Niedzwiecki and seven Belmont seniors presented their Research Projects at the Poster session of the 43rd Southeast Population Ecology and Evolutionary Genetics (SEPEEG) Meeting held October 21-23, 2016 in Madison, Florida. The meeting, hosted by the University of Florida, included research presented by Faculty, Post-docs, graduate students and undergraduates from universities across the southeast including Belmont University, University of Florida, University of Georgia, University of South Carolina, Mississippi State, University of Alabama, Auburn University and Florida State University.

Southeast Population Ecology and Evolutionary Genetics - Poster Session
Belmont students Sandra Bojic, Jasmine Conyers, Krystin Estes, Shirley Kyere, Kody Muhic, Joanna Sorrell and Ryan Tapley each presented posters in the Saturday night poster session. Dr. Niedzwiecki is the co-author on the student’s research projects.

Maymester in Costa Rica

15 Students in Costa Rica
Biology professors John Niedzwiecki and Darlene Panvini, along with fifteen Belmont students, recently returned from an eighteen day study abroad trip to Costa Rica. Dr. Niedzwiecki taught Tropical Biodiversity and Dr. Panvini taught Conservation and Sustainability on the trip.

Costa Rica Class

The experience began at La Selva Biological station in a lowland tropical rainforest where they saw sloths, an anteater, toucanets, and impressive trees.

Costa Rics - Arenal National ParkFrom there, they ventured to Arenal National Park to see a volcano and lake where they learned about geothermal and hydroelectric energy production.

University of Georgia-Costa Rica campus

During their ten day stay at the University of Georgia-Costa Rica campus in San Luis, they learned about plants and animals of a highland rainforest, went on a night hike, explored Monteverde cloud forest, had a cooking lesson with a local family, learned how to dance the merengue, and visited a chocolate factory. Other highlights included visits to a sustainable coffee farm, a Biodigester, and local art co-op. From there the group journeyed to the beach where they learned about a dry tropical forest at Santa Rosa National Park, observed white-faced capuchin and howler monkeys, and went snorkeling. The students and faculty returned with a greater appreciation for Costa Rica’s biodiversity and world-renown efforts to protect tropical forests.

Conscious College Road Tour

Belmont Hosts Turning Green’s Conscious College Road Tour for Second Year

Green Challenge Global Champion

With Belmont’s own Missy Martin reigning as Turning Green Project’s Green Challenge Global Champion, Belmont was a given to host a stop on the organization’s annual Conscious College Road Tour. This was the second year the tour stopped on campus. Sponsored by the ECO club, the tour sets up information tables to inform students about seven key lifestyle categories about conscious consumerism featuring product sampling, hands-on demos and in-depth conversations. The sustainability fair was followed by a town hall meeting, a gathering for students, faculty and school leaders.

Olivia Nishi

Senior corporate communications major Olivia Nishi got involved last year to pursue her interest in living green. “We are talking about these products to get our peers to think about what kinds of products they are using and to get them to be more conscious consumers,” she said.  President of the ECO Club Krystin Estes said the group hopes to be the voice for environmentalists on campus. “We want to know what the students want and need to be more sustainable on campus. We hope to develop one student-led initiative,” she said.

Science Student Organizations Participate in ReLeafing Day

ReLeafing Day is the Nashville Tree Foundation's fall planting, held every year on the Saturday before Thanksgiving.  On Saturday, November 21, ReLeafing Day was held in the Northwest Nashville neighborhoods of Bordeaux, Haynes Manor, Haynes Park, in public parks and along Titans Way with the Cumberland River Compact. Volunteers across the county come to plant trees in public spaces and private yards.

Belmont student members of Beta- Beta-Beta, ECO, and SMACS , along with Dr. John Niedzwiecki, faculty advisor for ECO, participated in the tree planting. They planted four trees with the Nashville Tree Foundation. In partnership with Nashville Electric Service, the Tree Foundation has planted hundreds of trees that coexist with power lines since ReLeafing Day began in 2002. 

Releaf - Sorell and Bojic         Releafing       Releafing Image Two
Joanna Sorell(L) and Sandra Bojic(R) Dr. Niedzwiecki and ECO club members

Richland Creek Clean-up

Richland Creek clean-up

Belmont’s Environment and Conservation (ECO) Club and Environmental Science program hosted a clean-up for their adopted section of Richland Creek on Saturday, October 17, 2015. Adopted in the fall of 2013 through an environmental science course service learning project, the adoption requires at least one clean-up event be hosted yearly. The adoption agreement with the Cumberland River Compact requires two trash removal events a year (one per semester). Volunteers spend two hours picking up trash out of the creek and we laugh about some of the craziest items we find. When the clean-up was finished, Lindsay Millward led a conversation about water pollution and the importance of not littering. 

Dr. PanviniDr. Panvini, Biology Professor, and five students attended the Tennessee Environmental Education Association conference at Montgomery Bell State Park, TN on Saturday, September 26, 2015. Students attending were Environmental Science students Alex Jeffers and Walter Burn and Biology students Lindsay Millward, Lindsey Dennis, and Katlin Stodard. They were joined by Environmental Science alumni Erin Pitts and Sylvia Alsup. Erin Pitts, who graduated in 2013, in now a Park Ranger I in the Tennessee State Parks central office. Dr. Ryan Fox (Mathematics/Education) and Dr. Bonnie Smith Whitehouse (English) also attended the conference.

Dr. Panvini, Katlin Stodard, and Lindsay Millward gave a presentation on “Leaf Litter Decomposition Studies for Middle School, High School, and College Students” that discussed their senior research project.  Professors Panvini, Fox, and Smith Whitehouse gave a presentation on “Compost Happens!” which modeled an interdisciplinary lesson integrating Science, Mathematics, and English Language Arts. 

Belmont Selected as Site for Conscious College Road Tour -- Hosts Campus-Wide Information Session and Town Hall Meeting

urning GreenTurning Green - Road Tour

Belmont University was recently selected as a stop on student-led nonprofit Turning Green’s nationwide road tour to inform, inspire and mobilize college students around conscious living and sustainable practices. Traveling to 16 universities, the Conscious College Road Tour seeks to encourage students to make educated choices in their day-to-day lives that benefit the health of both people and the planet. The event was co-sponsored by the ECO Club.

Turning Green - Road Tour 1Turning Green - Road Tour 3

Click here for more information on the Conscious College Road Tour 

ECO Club Helps With Tree Planting on Belmont's Campus

Arbor DayBelmont University was recently honored with the 2014 Tree Campus USA® recognition by the Arbor Day Foundation for its commitment to effective urban forest management. 

In honor of Arbor Day and Belmont’s recent designation as a 2014 Tree Campus, the University hosted a tree planting celebration on Friday, March 6, 2015. Belmont’s Tree Advisory Committee and the student led Environment and Conservation Organization (ECO) Club was present to celebrate with the University and planted a Colorado Blue Spruce. In addition to the Blue Spruce, five other trees were planted on-campus. ECO provides interaction with students across campus who are interested in environmental issues and sponsors students activities including river clean-ups, exotic plant removals, Earth Day awareness events, nature hikes and environmental guest speaker series.

Vice President of the ECO Club Lindsay Millward said, “I think it is important that Belmont is recognizing these trees so students walking by can appreciate them, and an award like this definitely furthers the sustainability efforts on campus.”


Weed Wrangle

Weed Wrangle Students

Saturday, February 28, 2015 from 9 a.m. to Noon, was the first-ever WEED WRANGLE NASHVILLE, a one-day, citywide, volunteer effort to help rescue our public parks and green spaces from invasive species through hands-on removal of especially harmful trees, vines and flowering plants. These include bush honeysuckle, Chinese privet, autumn olive, English ivy and winter creeper. Weed Wrangle had over 500 volunteers at the various sites in Nashville.

Weed Wrangle 3Weed Wrangle 4Weed Wrangle 4

Belmont University had 22 Belmont students, 1 Belmont alumni, and Dr. Panvini, Biology Professor, representing theEnvironmental Science program and the ECO club. The Belmont group pulled the invasive plants at Shelby Bottoms.

 Environmental Science students Adopt-A-Stream

Richland Creek
For their service learning project in ENV 1110, Introduction to Environmental Science, five students adopted a section of Richland Creek in Nashville and organized a stream clean-up day on Saturday, October 19, 2013.  The Belmont students organizing the clean-up were Megan Brady, Walter Burn, Luke Castle, Katie Keast, and Jessie Wynn.  Six additional students and Dr. Panvini, professor of the course, assisted in the clean-up event. Richland Creek is an urban watershed with 5 major tributaries: Sugartree, Unnamed Tributary, Jocelyn Hollow, Vaughn’s Gap, and Belle Meade, along with many smaller branches that feed the system.  

Richland Creek Sign

The Adopt-A-Stream program, part of the Nashville Metro Water Services, lasts for a period of 2 years and requires at least one stream clean-up per year and the stenciling of storm drains leading to the adopted stream segment. Metro Water Services provides a sign acknowledging the adopting group and stream. Belmont’s official sign is posted at England Park between the walking trail and Richland Creek.

Richland Creek 3

Students host Environment Fair
Environmental GroupAs part of the Environmental Science Capstone course, taught by Dr. Darlene Panvini, the students hosted an Environment Fair on the last day of classes.  The students presented posters on a variety of topics including fracking, community gardens, tree ordinances, exotic pest plant management in state parks, land protection in TN, and global climate change.  The Our Natural Environment (O.N.E.) club, Belmont's Environmental Club, also hosted a bake sale and raised over $100 to donate to a local environmental organization.