Ratifying sustainability

Green committee makes headway

You’ve seen the refillable water stations, the multi-divided recycling and trash cans and now, you can get excited to see more.

The Sustainability Committee—formerly known as the Sustainability Task Force—has recently created two new subgroups; one focusing on refillable water bottle stations and the other focusing on recycling containers.

“The recycling subgroup will be focused on continued expansion towards campus wide recycling,” said Ferris applied speech communication and industrial chemistry technology junior and student government representative to the Sustainability Committee Michael Williams. “Their goals are to identify locations that still need recycling, pick appropriate containers for our needs, and creation of campus wide recycling information.”

According to Williams, the water refill station groups will be identifying new locations for these stations as well as how to encourage their use. Williams also explained how the subgroups have yet to meet and, therefore, further goals and agendas have not been defined.

Although the subgroup agenda is not available, the Sustainability Committee does have a master plan that was released last year. Among the multitude of recommendations in the master plan are suggestions for including a sustainability orientation into the FSUS 100 course, supporting sustainable food systems, minimizing food waste and creating a staff professional development training opportunity.

“I just feel like, when you’re taking FSUS, it’s a one-credit class and it’s not, it’s not prevalent—you don’t really care about it,” said Ferris biology sophomore Breanna Frasher. “I think that’s part of the problem with sustainability in general. People get really hyped up about it for small periods of time and then they don’t make it a priority in their lives to change it. So, I feel like to make it a campus-wide project, you would have to objectify it in all of these things. You would have to do something in FSUS, you would have to make a course out of it, put it in syllabi, you know, continue implementing it.”

While methods can be debated, it is clear that sustainability is a valuable topic. A survey done by the Sustainability Committee in the masterplan found that 83 percent of students and 78 percent of faculty, staff and administration view sustainability as holding some level of importance to them.  

The survey also found that 64 percent  of students and 74 percent of faculty, staff and administration believe it is important to know about the sustainability actions of the university and 73 percent of students and 55 percent of faculty, staff and administration believe that understanding sustainability is crucial for their careers.

“Ultimately, on a campus like ours, I think there’s a lot of ways that we could use energy in better ways,” Frasher said. “Like this building [the University Center] I feel like is a great example. The windows are big so it lets in light and you don’t need lights on. But the library is like a dungeon so the lights are literally on in there 24/7. I think that sustainability is important and it’s going to continue to become more prevalent as non-renewable energy sources run out and we need to come up with better ways to create renewable energy. Sustainability is going to be key to that and finding ways to sustain it well.”