Sustainability efforts make campus more eco-friendly

Freshman Joseph Rury recycles a Starbucks cup inside the Commons. Several organizations on campus are trying to increase recycling at UNA.

Student Writer Ciera Golliver

UNA’s colors are purple and gold, but several organizations are trying to make the campus green.

Increasing recycling and providing more eco-friendly options and activities for students are a few ways student organizations are promoting campus sustainability.

“I know that SGA in the past has pushed for more recycling on campus,” said Student Government Association President Sarah Green. “SGA over the past couple of years has really been pushing for eco-friendly things, and recycling on campus has been a big thing to us, especially with the Student Welfare Committee.”

Project Earth also supports recycling on campus, said Project Earth Co-President Rachel Milwee.

“We are trying to get more recycling at university events,” Milwee said. “We started by putting recycling bins in the university fraternity houses. We are looking to get them in the sorority dorms and eventually at tailgating.”

The Outdoor Adventure Center also takes recycling at all times. Students interested in recycling that do not have easy access to a bin can drop their recyclables off at the OAC.

Recycling is not the only sustainability effort that is on campus.

University Program Council will be holding an event called PLANTS, People Loving and Nurturing Their School Sept. 22. At the event, students will be able to plant their own rosemary and mint, learn about the benefits of herbs and how to incorporate them in their everyday lives.

“We will have rosemary and mint,” said UPC member Molly Ratliff. “It is just kind of to bring to light that you can grow your own herbs not only to eat, but you can use them for natural remedies, too.”

Another event UPC planned is a cigarette pickup day.

UPC plans to pass around bags to students to see who can collect the most cigarette butts in a day.

Ratliff said she feels the event would give an opportunity to educate students on the dangers cigarettes can pose to animals, specifically the squirrels on campus.

Smaller changes are also happening around campus.

The Mane Market has eco-friendly to-go boxes, thanks to the SGA, Green said.

“A couple of senators met with the Chartwells folk, and they got a deal worked out,” she said. “We are really excited about (the eco-friendly boxes).”

One problem with university sustainability is the lack of funds available to support sustainability efforts, Milwee said.

“We had talked about a small tuition fee for sustainability,” Milwee said. “It would be a very small amount, but with a lot of students, that adds up. That is a long term goal, but a lot of things with sustainability also save money long term.”

Students who would like to become active with sustainability efforts on campus can participate in the Tennessee River Cleanup Sept. 24.

The OAC will have their kayaks available for students to use while cleaning up the Tennessee River, and prizes will be available for the most trash collected, according to UNA’s website.

For more information about the Tennessee River Cleanup, contact the OAC at 256-366-0722 or email Milwee at [email protected]

For more information about sustainability on campus, stop by the SGA office in the Student Engagement Center in Guillot University Center room 107 or call them at 256-765-4248.