Today: Jul 23, 2024

The Hoffecker’s plan a greener campus for SCSU

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Josh Falcone – General Assignment Reporter

Sustainability has been an important issue for James Hoffecker for as long as the he has been at Southern.

“When I was a freshman back in 2005,” Hoffecker said, “I got involved with a club called the Environmental Futurists. We did stuff like push for recycling issues, push for getting the campus to make the Presidents Sustainable Climate Commitment, and other things related to environmental issues and sustainability.”

Hoffecker, graduate history major, said it then all evolved from there, he became even more interested in environmental issues, and environmental history when he began reading text about the environmental changes in the history of the United States.

Hoffecker said the Environmental Futurists started a campus garden in 2007 which he became involved with and eventually the Presidents Sustainable Climate Committee took over the garden which led to him becoming even more greatly involved with the issues.

“Here we are now, in the Office of Sustainability,” Hoffecker said.

Looking forward, Hoffecker said he has many hopes for Southern’s continued strive to become even more sustainable and environmentally friendly in the future, and that these issues are important not only here at Southern, but worldwide.

“Sustainability, this issue is in college institutions around the country, around the World for that matter,” he said. “And it’s a huge issue. It has to be considered by every college, particularly now in the face of climate change, in the face of all these things. To think about our infrastructure, to think about food, even budgets, something away from the environment per say but all about sustainability, sustaining yourself.”

Hoffecker said the Office of Sustainability has some upcoming events to promote the importance of sustainability. Hoffecker said they will be hosting a sushi chef from local restaurant Miya sushi; an event they held last semester that was successful. The chef from Miya will demonstrate, discuss and serve sustainable sushi.

In addition, Hoffecker said he is trying to put together a mountaintop removal event. The event is planned for Mar. 20 at 5:00 p.m. and will feature speakers on this issue, Hoffecker said.

Mountaintop removal is a form of gathering coal in the Appalachian region of the United States that gives the coal companies easy access to a thin line of coal seams.

Hoffecker said the environmental ramifications caused by this form of coal retrieval are horrendous for the surrounding ecological systems. He said the proponents of this form of coal retrieval are attempting to use the damage caused by mountaintop removal to call for alternative fuels as well as placing wind turbines on the mountains rather than destroying them.

Hoffecker said the Southern campus addresses sustainability in many ways and he works closely with university personnel on the issue. In regards to sustainable food, he said education of the Southern community by using the garden and similar projects is important.

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“Thinking about, where food comes from, how it’s grown and how we can grow it,” Hoffecker said. “We talk about this organic garden, but what does that mean? If people’s exposure to organic is just overpriced produce in the supermarket they are going to have a different attitude about it than someone who is able to grow organic produce.”

To educate people on growing produce without the use of pesticides, genetically modified seeds, what that means and why or why not it is important are very important, Hoffecker said.

The Plant It Forward urban agriculture project is something Hoffecker said he hopes continues to take off on the Southern campus. He also hopes to use the degree he is earning at Southern to spread the message of sustainability in the classroom.

“That’s my intellectual interest and currently I’m attending school to get my teaching certification,” he said. “And I’m hoping to incorporate that into my lessons and perhaps incorporate some sustainability initiatives on the K-12 level.”


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