This October, Trinity celebrated national Campus Sustainability Month. The university, like others across the nation, worked to raise awareness of environmental issues throughout the month, specifically issues that affect campuses of higher education. Campus Sustainability Month encourages students to share how they are changing their campuses in order to promote more sustainable habits from their fellow students.
On Trinity’s campus, students and faculty alike have been working together to encourage students to be aware of the impact their actions have on the environment. Sharon Curry, sustainability coordinator for Campus Planning and Sustainability, organized events throughout this month. The office of Campus Planning and Sustainability strives to educate the Trinity community through the recycling program and tabling events. Curry spoke of her goals for this October.
“I think what we’re trying to do mostly during campus sustainability month is to share both things that we’re doing as a campus but also encourage the individuals to get involved and to act,” Curry said.
One way her department contributed to the discussion of sustainability on campus is through tabling during Nacho Hour. Each week, the student sustainability assistants for Curry’s office hosted tables to discuss the importance of campus sustainability and how Trinity is responding to environmental problems.
“We’re making a table to inform students and faculty and staff and everyone on campus about Campus Sustainability Month. We’re focusing on how we, as a university, do sustainability as opposed to just sustainability as a whole to give it a little more applicableness,” said Monica Lampton, sophomore anthropology and computer science double major and current assistant in the office of Campus Planning and Sustainability.
By engaging students in the tabling events, Curry hopes to both promote awareness of sustainability and educate students on the ways they can live more environmentally conscious lives.
Trinity also supported campus sustainability through its involvement as a host sponsor for the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education’s (AASHE) Conference and Expo. This October, faculty and students participated in the conference to exchange ideas and strategies to increase sustainability on campuses.
“I am confident that this conference will provide participants with a platform to explore innovative solutions to advance sustainability in higher education and the surrounding community,” wrote Meghan Fay Zahniser, AASHE executive, in a press release.
This conference offered the opportunity for students and faculty to come together and to learn from each other’s experiences in educating their campuses on the importance of sustainability.
Curry also works closely with Eco Allies, a registered student organization dedicated to campus sustainability. Eco Allies wanted to advance student education in sustainability this month to encourage a change in the way students approach sustainability. Kristen Rundstein, president of Eco Allies, planned a plastic bottle display this month to visually demonstrate the importance of recycling and the impact an individual can have on their campus.
“It’s an individual effort but it takes all individuals to work together,” Rundstein said.
The efforts to support sustainability on campus will not stop after this month. Trinity included in its 2017 Master Plan that campus sustainability is a top priority. Through organizations like Eco Allies and its membership in AASHE, Trinity and the office of Campus Planning and Sustainability hope to provide students with the opportunity to become educated on pressing environmental issues and ways to protect the earth.
“Even if we implement the best programs institution-wide, if nobody participates we really haven’t moved the needle,” Curry said.
Throughout the year, Curry and her team will be hosting events to educate students on their ability to affect campus sustainability. Next spring, the office will host Recyclemania and Earth Week to encourage students to become involved and be aware of their impact on the environment and the campus. Curry stresses that individuals have to take initiative for campus sustainability to improve.
For more information about how to support campus sustainability, contact Sharon Curry at firstname.lastname@example.org.