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Belmont University | Belief in Something Greater

Student 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.

2016-2017 ECO Club Officers:

President -- Krystin Estes                                 
Vice-President -- Joanna Sorrell
Social Media Outreach -- Lindsey Maxoutopoulis

Fall 2016 Club Meetings and Activities

September 23         10:00 AM      JAAC3081    ECO Club meeting
October 28           10:00 AM JAAC    ECO Club meeting
November    ECO Club meeting
November 30          2016 Science Undergraduate Research Symposium (SURS) 

Maymester 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.


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

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


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.

road tour

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


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.


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         releafing       releafing
Joanna Sorell(L) and Sandra Bojic(R) Dr. Niedzwiecki and ECO club members

Richland Creek Clean-up

richland creek

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. 

envDr. 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


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.


Click here for more information on the Conscious College Road Tour 

ECO Club Helps With Tree Planting on Belmont's Campus

arborBelmont 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.”




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.


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

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.  


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

Students host Environment Fair
env 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.