BY SARAH CIRELLI
If you follow Sustainable UT on Facebook you can participate in their sustainability challenge from April 8-22. There will be daily events posted on the page to increase your sustainability.
The sustainability challenge is meant to provoke students to think about actions they can take in their everyday activities reduce their environmental impact.
The Sustainability Committee hopes that the challenge increases awareness about sustainability, causing students to reduce their personal environmental impacts and advocate for progressive policies regarding sustainability in our university community.
Some of these events include the Sustainability Film Series events and the Legislative Advocacy Training with representatives from Citizens Climate Lobby and the Climate Reality Project.
“As the future leaders of our society, it is incredibly important for students to understand the connections between environmental issues and aspects of their lives, such as health, economics, politics, justice and community,” said Daniel Huber, associate professor of biology.
Huber is looking forward to the legislative advocacy training event because it is an opportunity for students to learn how to engage with politicians to advocate for the changes they want to see in our environment and society.
Huber said that numerous people within the sustainability committee planned various events so students can see the connection to the impact they have on the environment and therefore make it more relevant to their lives.
By partaking in these events students can win prizes by reducing your environmental impact. Students can participate by posting pics of themselves at events and are are eligible to win the following prizes: solar powered phone chargers, books written on sustainability issues and all kinds of other lifestyle items.
“This is a great way to spread awareness of the different issues facing the planet and the small steps individuals can take in order to help,” said Lauren Twele, junior marine science and biology major.
Twele is the president of the Student Environmental Action Coalition and is hosting several events during the sustainability challenge including Vaughn Audits and weekly Food Recovery events for UT’s chapter of the Food Recovery Network.
Over this two-week period there will be various sustainability initiatives that are rewarded with prizes. The purpose of providing an incentive is to get people involved who normally do not recognize the importance of sustainability in their daily lives.
“By hosting these different events, I am not only reducing my footprint, but also providing a direct way for others to learn about and participate in these environmental activities, which I believe is one of the best ways to live a sustainable lifestyle- by spreading awareness and encouraging others to live sustainably as well,” Twele said.
Twele is currently working with the UT Roots and Shoots organization with the recycling is beautiful campaign, which is a petition to expand recycling on campus.
Twele said she believes that the lack of recycling facilities on campus is an issue.
“Recycling is something that should be prioritized by the UT administration to promote a sustainable campus,” Twele said.
Huber said he wants students to gain an appreciation of the beauty and importance of our natural resources, an understanding of the connections between environment, economy, government and society, and the knowledge that every individual can make a difference.
Sarah Cirelli can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.