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The Chronicle

OASIS offers a haven for students

Jake Pardus fashions his time at CLC focusing on sustainability to create an OASIS.

Currently, Pardus is the president and co-founder of OASIS as well as the chief of staff for Student Government at the College of Lake County (CLC).

Pardus stated that he and a fellow student showed interest in the same job position working for the sustainability department. David Husemoller, the former sustainability manager, introduced them to each other since they were passionate about sustainability.

There used to be a Sustainability Club, but it was disbanded due to COVID.

“We decided together to bring it back and create that space for students who want to get involved and have a safe space to talk about environmentalism and get involved on and off campus with sustainability,” Pardus said.

Pardus revealed that the Sustainability Club was elevated to an organization. “We went from sustainability to OASIS. OASIS stands for Organization for Action Sustainability and Innovation by Students,” he said

“Kind of goes hand in hand with the acronym. When you think of OASIS you think of a refuge or like a haven for people to get together and be their best selves,” Pardus said. “Environmentalism, while not explicitly political, it almost always has to do with politics if you want to get tangible change.”

Pardus was very adamant about getting new members and how they are always open to hearing new voices. He was eager to get an organization status because he felt they had more than enough members and had a full executive board.

He struggled to get the organization at first. He mentioned that it could have very well been because of the lack of staff. Later, Mariel Lopez-Cruz, the SAI adviser, reached out to let them know they were being upgraded.

Bike Share (Emmer Saucedo)

“It was a bit out of the blue,” he said. “I think they just saw a lot of what we were doing and how engaged we were on campus and how much passion we had.”

Pardus also worked under Michelle Titterton, the current sustainability manager, as a sustainability assistant. The sustainability department was actively looking for student engagement while the Sustainability Club was looking for ways to get involved. Pardus stepped up to the plate and acted as mediator.

He also served as the student representative for the Sustainability Council. He emphasized how big the council was and how they were eager to help and listen to the students.

When asked what was discussed in the council, Pardus stated that they focus on incorporating sustainability on campus. One of the hot topics was the maintenance cost and engagement of the bike share.

In Earth month, Titterton and Shannon Bassi, the OASIS advisers, hosted bike days on Wednesdays and rode around the living trail with the bike share bikes.

Pardus specifically mentioned the neighborhood project to the council. He felt that the Sustainability Club had no visibility and struggled to engage new students. “There is this big blank wall,” he said.. “Why don’t we have any signage there?”

The Neighborhood Project Petition that Iliana Padilla proposed (Iliana Padilla)


When asked for his input on CLC’s new adaptation of sustainability in the school curriculum, Pardus urged CLC to “make it intersectional.”

He mentioned that when he had gone to the Illinois Green Economy Network (IGEN) conference, one of the presentations that were given felt forced.

“Slapping a label and saying it’s sustainable doesn’t sit right with me,” said Pardus.

“My perspective would be if you are going to educate about sustainability, make sure that you touch on every aspect of sustainability. Look at all aspects of it, not just one thing because that’s not going to help the students, it’s going to give them tunnel vision on sustainability when they need to be open to everything because that’s sustainability in its essence.”

Pardus was also one of the leaders overseeing the first-ever sustainable fashion show. He revealed that Sulma Teruel, the current student trustee, had pitched the idea to him.

Teruel informed Pardus that in her country, Honduras, there was a parade called, “No solo de tela se vestirá el hombre,” which roughly translates to “man not only wears fabric.” Hondurans would parade around with outfits made of recycled materials. This idea was the seed for the Latino Alliance and OASIS collaboration.

Pardus admitted that there were some hiccups,.“It’s never been done before so we didn’t have anything to base it off of. It was brand new,” he said.

He revealed that it was hard juggling the fashion show with all his responsibilities and how at times he felt stressed out because the load came down on him and Teruel.

“We were really ambitious with a lot of it, there were some things that we just didn’t incorporate into the event,” said Pardus. He stated how they originally wanted spotlights on the models but decided to keep it simple.

Jake Pardus with Bike Shares (Emmer Saucedo)

“As a solely student-run event, I think this was amazing. I can’t wait til next year when we just copy and paste over what we did and add on to it and help refine certain areas. I think it will be so much better next time,” said Pardus.

When asked what advice he would give to other clubs and organizations when working on a huge collaboration, Pardus stated that “communication is 100% the main driver for a good collaboration.”

He explained how they made a group chat with both the Latino Alliance and OASIS executive boards out of convenience. They would ask questions and get feedback right away. They also held weekly meetings and made a Google Doc that had the agenda of each meeting. At the end of each meeting, they would delegate.

Pardus admits he used to think that “if you want it done right do it yourself,” but how his mindset shifted.

“Delegating helps in two ways,” said Pardus. “It takes work off you and it also gives that person some stake in the projects so that they feel a certain passion or inclination to help out because they are part of it.”

Pardus stated that his favorite part was seeing all the outfits put together.

“It was such a full circle moment to see everything come together even though there were some bumps on the road,” he said.

When asked what advice he would give to next year’s participants Pardus said, “let your heart drive what you want your outfit to be because while it’s supposed to align with your club or organization’s mission, you became a part of the club for a reason. Think back to what made you want to join and you will get the best outfit.”

Finally, he suggested bringing more people to help behind the scenes and to seek some more help from the administration.

“I would love to get it in the James Lumber Center,” he said, emphasizing on the availability of modern lighting that could be used for the event.

Jake Pardus
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Iliana Padilla
Iliana Padilla, Editor-in-Chief