Recently, Wake Forest’s Ocean and Marine Conservation Club (OMCC) has gained traction across campus through marine-related events and fundraisers, like movie screenings and reusable straw sales.
The club’s primary aims are to provide the Wake Forest community with information about conservation and the modern issues facing the world’s oceans and to empower individuals with practical ways in which they can contribute to conservation efforts.
Ocean and Marine Conservation Club President Libby Mohn commented on the importance of highlighting the necessity of preserving the world’s oceans in a way that inspires people toward hopeful and charitable action.
“It is easy to feel hopeless toward conservation issues or to turn a blind eye on something that’s not happening right under our noses in Winston-Salem,” Mohn said. “The Ocean and Marine Conservation Club works to present these issues not as something overwhelming and impossible, but as something that we as a community can make a small, but impactful difference on.”
Making a conscious commitment to creating new activities and events that have involved the Wake Forest community, the club began meeting weekly throughout this semester.
The club recently showed A Plastic Ocean, which was an informative film about the detrimental effects of plastic waste on the condition of the world’s oceans and potential solutions to mitigate the amount of plastic waste that humans generate.
Oliver Hawkes, Vice President of the Ocean and Marine Conservation Club commented on the importance of the film screening and discussion.
“The event really embodied what this new community on campus is,” Hawkes said. “The student speakers are a mix of professional divers, marine biologists and ocean enthusiasts.”
In addition, OMCC put on a fundraiser through the sale of reusable straws. The club raised a total of $260, which was donated to the Loggerhead Marine Life Center, which focuses on sea turtle rehabilitation.
In addition to more informative events like a movie screening of A Plastic Ocean, the group also planned interactive volunteer opportunities like beach clean-ups and environmentally-friendly activities like kayaking trips. Members of the club also worked on marketing, outreach and trip-planning teams, as well as participated in overall group brainstorming and organization sessions in order to ensure the success of future events and initiatives.
“We also wanted to form a group of ocean-lovers to be able to get together and get involved in water-friendly activities,” Mohn said.
This sense of camaraderie and appreciation for the natural wonder of the ocean has spread throughout campus, as many members of the Wake Forest community have supported the recent events and fundraisers of the club.
The film screening and other events hope to initiate valuable conversations across campus about possibilities for countering the challenges facing oceans in the modern world and to provide the Wake Forest community with the knowledge and ideas to initiate and enact positive environmental change.
These events are just the beginning for the club, which has planned even more future events to raise awareness about ocean and marine conservation on campus. These might include the organization of volunteer activities like clean-up trips to local rivers or beaches, as well as speaker events that cover the importance of addressing current issues, like coral reef conservation.
Mohn commented on these initial fundraisers and events that highlight the environmental concern of conserving oceans and marine life, as well as her anticipation of future conservation efforts.
“I think that the fundraiser and event were great ways to start the conversation on the pollution of our oceans, the effect it has on our world and how to reduce plastic use,” Mohn said. “Looking forward to the future, the OMCC is hoping to continue these goals with an initiative to reduce plastics on campus.”