Five Fabulous Ways Schools Celebrated Campus Sustainability Day 2012
I'm delighted to report that the 10th anniversary of Campus Sustainability Day Oct. 24 saw record participation from colleges. More than 150 institutions - triple the number from last year - reported celebrations, posting them on the CSD Events page. Stories of what transpired on each campus - from film screenings to information fairs - are still coming in. In the space below I want to share just five of the many ways that folks celebrated.
University of Calgary Sustainability Street Team's Campus Sustainability Day photo booth contest.
1. Signing Sustainability Commitments
Bowling Green State University (OH)
President Mary Ellen Mazey signed the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC), making the university the 661st school in the U.S. to become a signatory. According to a campus newspaper article, what first prompted Mazey to look into signing the ACUPCC was her reading of “No Impact Man,” BGSU’s common reading book for 2011. Ah, the power of books!
Viterbo University (WI)
Viterbo became the 14th Catholic college in the U.S. to endorse the St. Francis Pledge to Care for Creation and the Poor, and join the Catholic climate covenant. President Rick Artman signed the Pledge for the institution. Speaking to a local newspaper, Artman explained that Viterbo was founded by the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration and that the sisters have been leaders in environmental and sustainability efforts.
Note: AASHE helped produce a related publication, Sustainability and Catholic Higher Education: A Toolkit for Mission Integration.
Viterbo University President Rick Artman signing the St. Francis Pledge to Care for Creation and the Poor.
Glendale Community College (AZ)
President Irene Kovala re-signed the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC), reaffirming the university’s commitment to climate neutrality. A discussion of GCC’s climate action plan and where to go next preceded her signing.
2. Improving Coordination & Planning
Saint Louis University (MO)
In honor of Campus Sustainability Day, SLU’s Facilities Services, working with the Center for Sustainability, released its first annual Campus Sustainability Report. The report noted the benefits of collaboration and communication across sectors of campus. Facilities Services also rolled out blue recycling receptacles onto campus walkways to help implement a single-stream recycling program.
Madisonville Community College (KY)
The college convened “Green MCC,” a brand new student-faculty-staff organization. The group began making initial plans for campus sustainability activities. The new organization will focus on sustainability efforts on campus and in the local community.
University of Virginia
U. Va. unveiled a new sustainability website and collected staff and student signatures for a new "sustainability pledge" during a Campus Sustainability Day Forum. A sustainability speaker series was also launched.
3. Tackling Waste
Tufts University (MA)
More than 200 students dropped off all the garbage they had accumulated during a week-long Zero Waste Challenge. Their trash was placed next to a mountain of waste collected from five residence halls.
California State University, Channel Islands
During a “48 Hours of Waste” event, participants (mostly students) deposited their dry waste products in a special bag that they carried around with them for 48 hours. At the end of the 48 hours they got a true sense of their waste footprint.
University of North Florida
UNF held its 6th annual "Garbage on the Green" event, educating the campus community about ways to reduce trash through recycling and litter-prevention. The program began in 2007 with the aim of identifying the types and sources of materials in UNF's solid waste stream. A morning clean-up of campus litter was followed by a waste/recycling audit involving recording and categorizing waste.
Massasoit Community College (MA)
The college hosted Zero Waste Day to raise awareness about the need to reduce waste on campus and in the community. Events included e-waste recycling, a dumpster dive to assess the number of recyclables in the campus waste stream, and a Halloween costume contest for the best costumes made of recycled materials.
Students at Antioch University New England used Campus Sustainability Day to introduce a new compost-sifting bicycle.
4. Celebrating Real Food
[Note: Campus Sustainability Day coincided with Food Day this year]
Corning Community College (NY)
Campus members donated vegetables and herbs for a “stone soup” prepared by a local chef. The nutritious soup was given free to students, staff and faculty, celebrating local produce, community, and Campus Sustainability Day.
Western Kentucky University (KY)
WKU devoted an entire day to "eating real," including a food conference and expo, community education workshops, a "Meet your Farmer" night, and a "Farm Elegant Dinner" prepared by the area’s leading chefs and showcasing the best of seasonally available local foods.
Hampshire College (MA)
A healthy food forum and an advance screening by Hampshire alumnus Ken Burns of excerpts from his forthcoming film, "The Dust Bowl," highlighted a special day called “Sustainable Hampshire: Food and Farm for the Future.” It was part of the college’s comprehensive, $1 million Healthy Food Transition program. The day-long forum brought local and alumni farmers, food producers, and restaurant owners to the Hampshire campus.
Clarkson University student, faculty and staff teams celebrated Campus Sustainability Day and Food Day with a Sustainable Iron Chef Competition.
5. Having Fun
Southern Illinois University Edwardsville
The Student Organization for Sustainability at SIUE sponsored a “Zombies, Vampires and Werewolves Costume Party” to educate people about sustainability in a fun environment.
Appalachian State University (NC)
At ASU’s “Blackout Campout,” students joined in an on-campus overnight camping adventure to raise awareness of energy reduction. Participants were asked to reduce the electrical load in their dorm rooms as much as possible by turning off /unplugging everything except their refrigerators from 6 p.m to 8 a.m. the next morning.
University of South Carolina
The Sustainable Carolina Office hosted a "Recycled Fashion Show" with student teams of three competing to create the best outfit out of 100 percent recycled materials and/or secondhand clothing. The winning team’s outfit went on display in the Student Union to celebrate their creativity and commitment to sustainability.
Rider University (NJ)
Actress and activist Rosario Dawson gave the keynote speech at Rider University's Sustainability Day Celebration on the Lawrence Township campus. As the photo gallery shows, Rosario and the students had a lot of fun!
Emory University's Water Coalition provided materials for students to "bling" their reusable water bottles.
Re-Cap of Other CSD Events
The CSD keynote broadcast on “Preparing Students for a Changing Climate” and four regional conversations on the same topic engaged large audiences during the week. Some experimented with a a new technology called Google+ Hangout, allowing viewers to see the panelists virtually. It’s well worth taking a few minutes to watch the video-recordings – they contain much valuable content.
A lively, Campus Sustainability Day social media scene developed for the first time this year. AASHE’s marketing/communications coordinator Margo Wagner captured a choice sample of tweets and photos in a Storify page that I highly recommend taking a look at. You can see other interesting photos and stories on the CSD Facebook page.
See also the summary press release for more stories.
Campus Sustainability Day History
Officially celebrated on the third Wednesday of October, CSD began in 2003 as a project of SCUP (Society for College and University Planning), with support from Second Nature and AASHE. The goal was for campuses to reflect on and celebrate their progress to date and make plans or “blueprints” to guide the next set of actions toward sustainability. In 2011, HEASC (Higher Education Associations for Campus Sustainability) became the host and coordinator of CSD, working in partnership with other organizations to create a successful annual event. See more on the history of CSD.
Organizers see Campus Sustainability Day much like Earth Day – a day when campuses across North America (and the globe) can take stock of where they are, celebrate milestones, and envision where they need to go.
The theme for CSD 2012 was "Higher Education: Moving Sustainability Forward." The 2012 Planning Committee consisted of representatives from HEASC, AASHE, SCUP, Second Nature, National Wildlife Federation’s Campus Ecology Program, and the American Association of Community College’s SEED (Sustainability Education and Economic Development) initiative. In addition, four other non-profits signed on as “supporting organizations” to help promote the event: Focus the Nation, Arbor Day Foundation’s Tree Campus USA program, IDEAS For Us, and the U.S. Green Building Council’s Center for Green Schools.
Huge thanks to everyone who helped to make Campus Sustainability Day such a success! Please be sure to publicize your stories, and send us any comments, questions, or ideas for CSD 2013.
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