By: Alise Jarmusz – Staff Writer
The University of Dayton Student Sustainability Coalition kicked off Sustainability Week Sunday, Oct. 20, with an effort to empower students to make a difference in the environment.
The Student Sustainability Coalition is an umbrella organization for sustainability clubs at UD, including Sustainability Club, Outdoor Adventure Club, Ethos Club, Student Government Association, Beta Beta Beta, Sigma Gamma Epsilon, River Stewards and Sustainable Engineering Scholars, said Sustainability Club president Ryan Schuessler.
Events ranging from rock-climbing at the RecPlex to “bike blender smoothies” were developed to get students involved in sustainability.
Schuessler, a senior mechanical engineering major, said he wanted the week to reach people who don’t normally get involved with the subject of sustainability and to get students excited.
“I think that’s one of the coolest things when you get people excited instead of just lecturing at them. That’s when they get motivated to do something” Schuessler said.
Jarred White, a senior civil engineering major and a Coalition chair, said he wanted the week to “promote the mentality of thinking through your daily activities so that you can make things a little bit better [in terms of sustainability].”
Although both Schuessler and White said they wished more advertising had been used for the event, they agreed the turnout was great. Students were especially excited about Sunday’s ArtStreet festival, which featured local free-range burgers and information tables, Schuessler said.
Another event was Thursday’s trivia night in Kennedy Union Pub, according to the UD events calendar. White said trivia night successfully showed that sustainability is fun.
“We’re not just a bunch of pessimists talking about how bad things are. We like to have fun events and think about and promote sustainability from a more positive perspective,” he said.
White said significant events have been happening within the world of sustainability. The President’s Climate Commitment, which recognizes the hazardous role humans play in causing climate change, asks colleges and universities to initiate a plan to achieve climate neutrality as soon as possible. Daniel Curran, president of UD, recently signed this commitment, according to a news article on UD’s website.
Tuesday’s event schedule included a forum meant to highlight the combined effort of students, faculty and staff toward achieving sustainability. Emphasized at the forum was UD’s Dining Services’ and Sustainability Club’s effort to turn trash into a valuable resource through composting, White said.
White said the average student can make a difference.
“I have been here four years now, and by talking to people you get a little taste of the fact that people actually do care, and they do pay attention to these kind of things,” he said. “They care about conservation issues. They just have no idea where to start so they don’t really ever start. We just want to show people that they can get involved. We have farmers markets with local produce and projects going on that students can be a part of.”
Schuessler and White also said students can do small things to contribute to sustainability, like turning off lights when they are not in use, recycling, making sure compostable items make it to designated compostable trashcans, carpooling and unplugging chargers from the wall.
Megan Guy, a junior environmental geology major, said she was happy about how the week went.
“I think having Sustainability Week here at UD was a great thing,” she said. “It’s awesome to see people excited about caring for the environment. It’s an issue that we should all help out with.”
Any students interested in helping with sustainability can contact Ryan Schuessler at firstname.lastname@example.org.