Chapel speaker encourages campus sustainability

Baylor alumnus and environmentalist Smith Getterman spoke at Monday chapel on the strong need for good stewarship. Photo courtesy of Baylor University

By Alexandra Donnel | Reporter

Smith Getterman, a Baylor alumnus and environmentalist, spoke in Baylor chapel on Monday to encourage environmentally friendly actions in students and the need for good stewardship.

Josyln Henderson, the ministry associate of worship, said Getterman works on sustainability projects on campus.

“Smith is the director of sustainability and special projects here at Baylor and oversees efforts that you all see around,” Henderson said. “For instance, you may have seen stickers on light switches telling you to turn them off. You have certainly seen the recycling bens around campus. Smith has been instrumental in these and other efforts to help us, as a university care for God’s creation.”

Getterman said the reason he decided to work at Baylor instead of other schools like Southern Methodist University or the University of Texas is because in his view, caring about the environment is intertwined to his gospel call.

“I don’t think Christians talk about it enough, and when we do environmentalism or we talk about caring for the environment you immediately start to think about people who hug trees or have been arrested for laying on the street,” Getterman said.

Getterman said he is not the stereotypical environmentalist. He emphasized that he did not have a hippy background and told students it was important to tell them this because they probably have similar backgrounds as him.

Getterman wanted to make it clear to students that he was not at chapel to tell students how to vote, he was only there to talk about the truth in the gospel. He said that Christians do not really think about being good stewards even though that is a role God gave humankind.

Getterman speculates the reason people do not reflect on it much is because when there is a disaster such as a drought, they assume it is thousands of miles away. According to Getterman, Christians do not often think of these things and do not think of how much they are consuming and how that affects the world around them. He said they do not know how to be good stewards.

“More to the point, we really don’t think about how we consume impacts the world around us. We as Christians, go to Chick-fil-A, and buy our Christian chicken and then buy our milkshakes and throw our Styrofoam and our trash away and we don’t think about where it is going,” Getterman said.