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Sustainability committee makes eco-friendly atmosphere

By , Reporter  |  Monday, October 8, 2012 9:01 PM

Movies, presentations and booths throughout the week of Oct. 1, helped the St. Thomas Sustainability Committee encourage a more eco-friendly atmosphere on campus during sUSTainability week.

Environmental studies professor Elise Amel said students had more involvement in the activities prepared for the week. In the past, the committee has only had one student representative, but several students are now on the Sustainability Committee and more students from clubs and organizations asked to participate in the events. Amel said that student leaders were the ones to decide to show the films “Dirt!”, “Tapped” and “FLOW” on campus.

<p>sUSTainability Week at St. Thomas concluded with a river clean-up on Saturday, Oct. 6. The Green Team said that events were not well-attended, but the student body has responded well to other initiatives. (Anastasia Straley/TommieMedia)</p>

sUSTainability Week at St. Thomas concluded with a river clean-up on Saturday, Oct. 6. The Green Team said that events were not well-attended, but the student body has responded well to other initiatives. (Anastasia Straley/TommieMedia)

Green Team president senior Eric Hsu said the Green Team’s awareness initiatives, such as the plan to decrease plastic water bottle use on campus, has seen tremendous results. Water stations have been installed in several campus buildings that make it easier to refill permanent bottles instead of purchasing more plastic ones. Hsu said the Green Team hopes to supply Tommie water bottles in future freshman orientation packets to promote the cause.

Several clubs and organizations joined the committee’s quest. Amel ran the sUSTainability Week’s poster display in the Anderson Student Center on Monday, Oct. 1. She said about 30 posters displayed student work about environmental issues and how they relate to different studies.

“There was a history poster that showed the environmental issues that the Romans were having and how that led to their demise,” Amel said.

Bike Enthusiasts at St. Thomas offered free bike repairs on the John P. Monahan Plaza followed by a neighborhood bike ride on Wednesday, Oct. 3. Representatives from HourCar and NiceRide presented about transportation methods that save gas.

The week concluded with a clean-up committee visiting the Mississippi River on Saturday, Oct. 6.

Sophomore Brynn Sytsma was most excited to learn about the alternative forms of transportation available to students.

“More students would use the car if they knew about it, so I’m glad that they’re bringing that up. The car would be environmentally friendly and convenient,” Sytsma said.

Amel said students with a variety of interests and majors have approached her about ways to lead a more eco-friendly life.

“We’re working on ways to integrate sustainability into classes. We run workshops so that we can see how it relates to economics or how it can relate to marketing,” Amel said.

Anastasia Straley can be reached at stra0669@stthomas.edu.

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