Posted on: December 10, 2021 Posted by: Marcus Collins Comments: 0

By Marcus Collins, JRN 111 Student

We have all heard that knowledge is power. But for Tish Hayes, knowledge is about helping others find their own power. Her life’s work is focused on creating connections.   

Energetic and outgoing, Hayes is Moraine’s information literacy librarian and the new head of the Go Green! club. Whether it is discovering ideas and thinking about information in complex ways, or solving climate change and saving the planet, to Hayes, it is about building a network where that can happen.

Her interest in climate issues began early in her full-time career at Moraine when she took a class in sustainability.

“Climate change had been on my radar for some time,” she says, “but that class helped me to recognize the connections between climate change activism and other social justice issues.”

Other issues she is passionate about include “gender equity on campus for both workers and students from an inclusive and intersectional perspective, as well as social justice issues more broadly.” She currently serves on the Faculty Association’s Gender Equity Committee and co-chairs a similar committee for the Cook County College Teachers Union.

Hayes says being a “huge reader” fuels her interest in these topics.

“Although I read a lot of informative non-fiction, I find that science fiction is a great place to explore ideas about gender and information,” she says. 

I think I really want people to see me as someone who is looking to make connections and collaborate.”

Tish Hayes

With a master’s degree in library information science and a master’s degree in education, Hayes is qualified to serve as a professor as well as to help students with research, evaluating sources, or just finding a specific book. Before coming to Moraine, she worked as a bookseller, recommending books to people.

While she was in school to become a librarian, she realized that this was the field that would bring together everything she had done previously, “and then this new career was connecting people to things they needed.”

Helping students connect with resources needed for their classes or resources needed to be successful is one of her key goals at Moraine.  

“I want students to feel comfortable coming into the library,” she says.

Every year, the library hosts multiple events themed around its One Book, One College program. In looking for a book to choose for this year, one that caught Hayes’ eye was “All We Can Save.” She immersed herself in the book’s essays, which all revolve around the environment. During her studies, she noticed that the climate change awareness movement is being led by young people. And then she knew she wanted to create a space on the campus for students to come together and talk about the issues related to climate change.

Hayes is the adviser for Moraine’s Go Green! club. Students interested in participating in the club next semester can join the Go Green! Canvas page

Over the summer, the former faculty adviser for the Go Green! club had left, so Hayes decided to take over advising the club, which focuses on issues affecting climate change. The goal of the club is to find ways to preserve and protect the environment from greenhouse gases, carbon emissions and other pollution.

“One of the things I have missed during the pandemic is really just being connected to students,” Hayes says. Normally, she would get the opportunity to teach a lot more and would have more interaction with students face-to-face.  “It’s been challenging getting people together because you know, people aren’t allowed on campus as much because there’s still restrictions because of COVID.”

She sees the club as a great place for students to help develop their voices and to initiate change. Similar clubs at other schools have put together petitions and achieved success in their mission, and Hayes hopes for that vision to come true for the Go Green! club as well.

As the club grows, she hopes to go out into the community to work in the forest preserves on restoration and cleanup service projects. Monthly field trips and service projects are planned for spring. And if there are changes on campus that club members wish to see, she hopes to help motivate the students to achieve those goals.

“I really see my role as just one of support,” she says, “so whatever the club decides they want to do, I can help provide some of that infrastructure, or those connections that students might need.”

During the fall semester​, Go Green! met on Tuesday afternoons from 4-5 p.m. via Zoom. Students interested in participating next semester can join the Go Green! Canvas page and follow the club on Instagram.

Hayes says there are a lot of issues and work that she cares about, but when all is said and done for her, she wants people to look back on her as a good colleague, someone they could count on for support for their own work.

“I think I really want people to see me as someone who is looking to make connections and collaborate.”