Sustainability, making the campus greener, and consciousness of the environment were the discussions at hand at the Campus Ecology meeting on Mon., Jan. 30 in the science center.
Danielle Couture, senior and president of Campus Ecology said, “I love this club. There’s so many great people and we come together and we have the fantastic weekly meetings where we all share what’s going on in our lives and connect it to the environment.”
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Campus Ecology has a few new projects happening, including its “legacy project.” “We plan to install LED light bulbs in all of the lamp posts on campus as well as install solar panels, which is really exciting,” Couture said.
These light bulbs will allow for high-efficiency energy and less replacements as opposed to florescent light bulbs.
Senior Marianne Keith, the club’s vice president, said that she has been involved in Campus Ecology since her freshman year.
Keith said she has noticed the club doing more things on campus other than Solar Fest, a music festival that runs off solar power only.
She mentioned Harvest Fest, a seed celebration, and volunteering for the community kitchen.
Couture brought up the gardens the club makes and maintains on campus, bike racks they will be building in the spring, and trash walks where members walk around “all suited up” in gloves and all.
The club will also be visiting a farm to get an understanding for how organic farming works.
“I think the club’s advanced a lot, it’s been more involved,” Keith said. Sophomore Kelly Marchione has also been involved in Campus Ecology since her first year at KSC. When talking about the legacy project, Marchione said, “Our goal is to try to cut back on the energy use on campus.”
Marchione said that the club puts on documentary showings, such as the movie “Tapped,” which shows people, “how corrupt the water corporations and companies are.”
Marchione said she hopes seeing documentaries like this will get students to purchase reusable water bottles instead of buying water bottles every day.
Keith said, “[Campus Ecology’s] biggest goal is to educate the students because we think the students really have a big influence here and so we really try and educate the students and the staff.”
Of all the events Campus Ecology is responsible for, Solar Fest is the club’s biggest event of the year.
“We’ve been planning since even last semester. When we come back from the winter break is when we really start putting our plans into action and voting on the bands, getting everything together and it takes really the whole semester. It takes a lot of time and can be really stressful but if we get everything done on time it’s not too bad, it’s a lot of fun so it’s worth it,” Keith said.
This year’s Solar Fest is scheduled for Saturday, Apr. 21 on the Fiske quad.
“I started scheduling bands three weeks ago. It takes looking at the budget, seeing how much money we have, seeing how much bands are. We invite vendors from the local community, we invite student organizations, we make t-shirts, we do eco-conscious tie-dying, all sorts of different activities we plan,” Couture said.
“Getting the bands together is definitely the biggest thing, and then the preparation,” Couture added.
One goal the club members have is to spread awareness about the environment and what students and staff alike can do to help make the campus greener.
Couture said, “I know when I was an underclassman living in a dorm, I would see friends all the time that would have this mentality like, ‘We’re not paying for our electricity so it doesn’t matter,’ so I guess the thing is to be aware just because you’re not paying for it, the electricity is still being used so we can turn off your lights, take shorter showers, unplug your cell phones and turn off your computer at night, get a reusable water bottle.”
Couture pointed out that students can purchase reusable coffee mugs at Lloyd’s in the student center, which is not only good for the environment, but also their budgets.
She said that each time you get coffee with these mugs, you have a discounted price, which saves you money in the long run.
In order to do her own part, Marchione said, “I keep my heat down as much as I can, put my storm windows in so there’s not a big draft, I take shorter showers. I did that when I lived on campus too.”
Keith said that while it would be a difficult task to accomplish, she wants students to be required to take an Environmental Studies course.
“I know as a liberal arts college we do have to take interdisciplinary courses and we do have to take sciences, but I do think it’d be really beneficial if there was a general environmental studies course that was required just to show students how important it is and how easy it can be to go about this kind of thing,” she said.
Marchione said, “People are more conscious of recycling and more people that are smokers are using the cigarette dispensers so that’s good, instead of throwing them on the ground.”
Marchione said she would like to see more education on how to recycle properly.
“So many times you’ll see water bottles thrown into the garbage, which is not where they’re supposed to be. They’re supposed to be in the recycling,” she said.
“Just be aware of what you’re using, what you’re consuming,” Couture said, later saying, “Just be aware of the environment and others.”
Marchione said every student can make a difference. “Instead of going to the trash can, walk 10 feet to the recycling bin and recycle your water bottle,” she said.
Keith said, “Even the littlest changes in your every day life make the biggest changes in the world.”
Brittany Ballantyne can be contacted at email@example.com