Today: Feb 21, 2024

Sustainability meeting calls for new ideas for ‘greener’ initiatives

James Blake -- Executive Vice President

Lauren Kurty, Staff Writer:
From stores, to cars, to homes, everyone and everything is “going green” these days, and for James Blake, a member of the sustainability committee on campus, colleges are an important contributor to going green.
“Colleges and universities must exercise leadership,” he said.
Southern hosted a town hall meeting aptly titled “Sustainable Southern” on Mon. April 18 in the Adanti Student Center Ballroom. Members of the sustainability committee were able to stand up and present the information that was gathered, as well as answer questions from the audience.
Recycling is a significant part of making the world a greener place for Heather Stearns, who is the recycling coordinator on campus and a member of the committee. According to Stearns, one goal of the school is to cut down on the usage of paper and always recycle the paper that is being used.
“Paper is the biggest commodity on this campus,” she said. “All paper can be recycled.”
The website Treehugger.com suggests that if people are going to buy new clothes it’s important to look for ones that are made out of fabrics that are sustainable, such as organic cotton and bamboo. The site also provides information about all types of ways to help the environment, from how to driver greener, and live greener, to how to make sure that your clothes are healthy for the environment.
Robert DeMezzo, associate director of residence life, said though the school has been working on new projects especially in the dormitories, there are still a lot of things that need to be done and they are asking members of the campus for help.
“We have a long way to go,” he said. “We’re open to new ideas.”
Southern recently hosted its third annual “Reyclemania” competition, which ran from January 23 to April 2, giving the campus a chance to compete in activities to reduce wasting paper and other resources. It’s not just paper that Stearns wants to see being recycled on campus. She made a point to mention that the campus also accepts old cell phones with chargers, which will be donated to benefit others.
“[There are] two containers [on campus] for cell phones,” she said. Stearns also said that they will go to a “local battered women’s shelter.”
The sustainability section of the Southern website provides a chance to look at the plan that the school has for the upcoming years to make Southern a better place. Students, faculty and the community all participate in making the school a “greener” place. A list of steps was generated, from driving less and using carpools when available, to using less water when showering; there are many different ways that everyone can work together.
According to DeMezzo, the dormitories are constantly making changes to make the students’ living quarters greener; employees are changing the light bulbs and the showers to low flow shower heads, as well as the using green cleaning products. Every member of the committee suggested that students need to report any problems they see around campus.
During the presentation, Blake said in the coming years, the campus will undergo many changes due to construction beginning on new buildings. New facilities must be “green certified,” and Southern is also looking to make more changes to the classrooms to make them more energy efficient.
“The campus will change,” Blake said. “We could use our classrooms as stepping stones.”

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