VSU actively tries to provide students with an environmentally friendly campus.
Meredith Lancaster, associate director of environmental & occupational safety, said, “The Health Sciences and Business building on North campus is certified by Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design.”
Meaning the construction process of the building, met and continues to meet specific environmental performance standards of the United States Green Building Council.
“VSU is making continual improvements to become more ‘green’ and all of the environmentally friendly things on campus are here because the administration has taken action to improve our environment and enrich our campus experience,” Lancaster said.
VSU encourages all of its students to be more environmentally mindful.
Sporting the newest electric car or installing the latest energy saving technology though, is not the only way to be environmentally friendly. Small changes also have a tremendous impact.
When trying to cut down on negatively impacting the environment it helps to remember the five R’s: Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Repurpose, Recycle.
Refuse items that can harm the environment. When making a purchase, refusing a bag and simply carrying out the item results in large amounts of plastic saved each year. Cheap knick-knacks or freebies from businesses may be appealing in the moment, but how long will it be until that miniature football or magazine will end up tossed out?
Reducing what you use is such an important concept in being friendly to the environment. It’s 2017, and technology has advanced where many textbooks are offered as digital copies which is not only cost effective but easier on the environment than paper copies. To cut back on water usage in certain buildings on campus, there are now toilets with a green ‘eco-friendly’ setting to conserve water. VSU is also reducing the amount of food wasted in the dining halls by implementing tray-less dining. Students can grab what they will eat opposed to filling a tray with food.
Reusing is an environmentally friendly way to get the most out of products. Tons of plastic bottles are littered annually. By reusing bottles, a person that drinks at least one bottle a day has the potential to save around 30 bottles a month. VSU has implemented bottle refill stations in various buildings around campus to allow students the chance to reuse a bottle instead of getting another each time.
Shannon McGee, with auxiliary services, said, “Reusable to-go containers are available in Palms Dining Hall and Blazer Sports Grill.”
Repurposing can be very beneficial in college. Repurposing projects do not have to be perfect, they just need to be used. If that old yoga mat has seen better days, it can easily be cut into pieces and placed under furniture for easy rearranging or to save the floors from scratches.
Recycling is the final of the five R’s. It’s so important to consciously keep items from the environment that could bring harm. VSU has multiple recycling bins in buildings around campus in an effort to keep materials out of landfills. They have also partnered with Filta Fry to recycle used frying oil. Although there is no composting area available on campus, VSU utilizes the county composting area for food that can no longer be used.
For students passionate about environmentalism, VSU offers an autonomous student organization, Students Against Violating the Environment, which works with national environmental organizations about issues both on and off campus. This program welcomes anyone that values the quality of life left behind for generations to come.
Students weigh-in on considering if VSU is eco-friendly:
Colbie Spann, senior biology major
“I do think VSU could do better when it comes to being environmentally friendly, but at least there is an effort being put forth with recycling on campus. If everyone used the recycling bins provided, there would be so much waste kept from landfills.”
Brittany Carroll, senior psychology major
“Yes, colleges waste a lot of materials, and it would benefit the environment so much if people were conscious about what they do to the earth.”
Isle Chavez, sophomore political science major
“VSU is not the worst when it comes to being environmentally friendly, but that doesn’t mean we can’t improve. It may be pricy, but campus could implement the use of solar energy in buildings that get a lot of visitors to help with the cost of high energy usage.”
Carolyne Casaine, sophomore marketing major
“I would like to see more recycling areas on campus. Due to my major, my mind goes to ways that can get students to not only notice but use the recycling bins. Placing recycling bins decorated by student organizations around campus, has the ability to attract positive attention and get students to think about recycling.”
Breanna Allen, sophomore communication sciences and disorders major
“Because there are so many students in higher education, a change can occur if students are given proper guidance and information on how to better the environment for their college or university.”
Story by Jade Manning. Photos by Jade Manning and VSU.
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