Herbicide-Free Campus is a growing student-led movement to eliminate the use of harmful herbicides, pesticides, and other toxins on college and public school campuses. We can all learn from the experience of founders Mackenzie Feldman and Bridget Gustafson, who were student-athletes at the University of California, Berkeley when they started the organization. It now has chapters at seven universities, along with communities at 13 other schools. Mackenzie and Bridget began by forging a local community around concerns about glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup. They started Herbicide-free Campus in 2017 when their volleyball team offered to help weed the grounds at UC Berkeley in exchange for the grounds staff stopping the use of herbicide near the volleyball practice area they used. Partnering with the groundskeeping staff, who were the most directly impacted group, was critical to their success. Within four years had eliminated virtually all herbicide use at Berkeley, protecting workers, students, and the insect and animal population.
Take a few minutes to read the Earth911 article by Mackenzie and Bridget, Herbicide Free Campus: Student-led Environmental Advocacy, in which they share their ideas about organizing and expanding a community organization, first in college and then as activist alumni. Also, check out Mackenzie’s podcast, Agenda 23. You’ll find actionable ideas and more information about the environmental and health impacts of glyphosate and other commonly used chemicals that are better off retired and forgotten.
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This podcast originally aired on May 26, 2021.