Middle Ground

Middle Ground imageWhat is Middle Ground?

Middle Ground is the student-run organization on SUNY Potsdam's campus whose goals are to encourage environmental stewardship. Middle Ground fosters activism, education, and volunteering. Students from any major or minor are welcome to be a part of Middle Ground.


The Story Behind Middle Ground.

Middle Ground began as an idea back in 2005, when Dr. Michael Wilson, director of field studies for the Environmental Studies program at the time, suggested to students Kevin Chlad and Sarah Cihak that they should organize a student group that was committed to environmental awareness. The goal was to provide opportunities for students and the community to learn about the environment, participate in activities concerning the environment, and also provide volunteer opportunities for students wishing to better their environment. The goal of Middle Ground is to not only provide opportunities for people to participate, but also to educate the community and students about the problems present in the environment. Middle Ground also aims to provide small scale solutions that people can implement in their every day lives. 


What's in a Name?

The name Middle Ground was chosen from "The Trouble with Wilderness" by William Cronon.


"The majority of our most serious environmental problems start right here, at home, and if we are to solve these problems, we need an environmental ethic that will tell us as much about using nature as about not using it. The wilderness dualism tends to cast any use as abuse, and thereby denies us a middle ground in which responsible use and non-use might attain some kind of balanced, sustainable relationship. My own belief is that only by exploring this middle ground will we learn ways of imagining a better world for all of us;humans and non-humans, rich people and poor, women and men, First Worlders and Third Worlders, white folks and people of color, consumers and producers-a world better for humanity in all of its diversity and for all the rest of nature too. The middle ground is where we actually live. It is where we- all of us, in different places and ways-make our homes."

- William Cronon, "The Trouble with Wilderness". 1995

What has Middle Ground Done?

Middle Ground has been a part of many local events and its members have done their part to participate in the community and have also done their part in engaging the Potsdam campus in environmental awareness. Middle Ground has put on events such as 350.org which is a rally that raises awareness about the unsafe amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Middle Ground has participated in PowerShift, one of the biggest climate summits in the world and they have also continuously put on a week full of events celebrating the earth. During Earth Week Middle Ground allows environmental studies students, and others willing to participate, to create their own events and implement them with events planned by Middle Ground. Middle Ground members have also volunteered their time to participate in First Saturday and SUNY Potsdam's leadership conference.

Get Involved!

  • Develop your leadership and group  participation skills by helping plan events put on by Middle Ground.
  • Attend environmental conferences sponsored by Middle Ground.
  • Become a member and bring your ideas and strengths to our meetings that take place every week and be welcomed into a friendly atmosphere.
  • Learn about what SUNY Potsdam is doing, and what you can do to be more environmentally responsible.
  • Have fun and meet people with similar interests.

For more information please contact Middle Ground at middleground@potsdam.edu