Where sustainability meets campus life

Students at WSU Vancouver are dedicated to sustainability. The VanCougar has uncovered a few programs and people who have committed their time to a more sustainable campus environment.

Sustainability has political, social, environmental and economic connotations. As students, sustain- ability can be as simple as acknowledging impacts on the surrounding campus environment.

Implementing environmental goals on campus can occur through administrative means as well as through the student body itself. This year, the Garden Club has made sustainability the centerpiece of its vision for life on campus.

Kim Harless, a member of the Garden Club and an environmental science major, has a vision and passion for the future of WSU Vancouver’s sustainability.

“It is important for us to make investments if we plan to stay here a long time,” said Harless “these in- vestments will save students in the long run and provide altruistic moral good for the campus.”

Today campuses across the country are adopting sustainability measures. Harless contends that sustainability also addresses economic needs by making the best decisions for the long-term.

How can students increase their awareness about sustainability? On October 24 the campus will be participating in national “Food Day.” The event will take place in ADM 129/130 and in the cafeteria. Here, students will be able to watch the three following food documentaries…

10 – 11:30 a.m.: Food Inc.

This 2008 documentary film examines corporate farming in the United States. This film illustrates the environmental harms and animal abuse associated with agribusiness. It tied in fourth place for Best Documentary at the Seattle International Film Festival and was nominated for Best Documentary at the 82nd Academy Awards.

11:40 a.m. – 12:40 p.m. & 2:30 – 3:30 p.m.: Dive!

Filmmaker Jerry Seifert and his crew dumpster dive through garbage receptacles at supermarkets in Los Angeles to illustrate our excessive waste in raw materials. Using guerilla journalism, this film won the Audience Choice Award at the Gig Harbor Film Festival, Best Documentary at the DC Independent Film Festival and Best Film at the Dutch Environmental Film Festival in 2009.

12:50 – 2:20 p.m.: King Corn

Released in 2007, this documentary examines the role of increasing corn production in the United States. It addresses the politics of corn subsidies and how mass industrialization has replaced small family farms. This film was nominated at several international film festivals.

Each of these documentary showings are free of charge.

This event is also a collaborative effort with the Environmental Science & Sustainability Club, who will facilitate a discussion to stress the importance of eating local ingredients, recycling, and reducing waste or consumption.

Even though WSU Vancouver has made great strides in “going green” i.e.; planting native foliage, creating ponds that absorb water runoff and enforcing a smoke free environment, there is still things that can be done. The Garden Club and Environmental Science & Sustainability Club have ideas that would increase energy efficiency on campus such as:

• Turning computers and lights off at after hours

• Planting more trees so that water won’t be wasted on keeping the lawns green

• Installing more hand dryers in the bathrooms

• Installing water bottle refill stations

• Planting a campus garden so that students can learn how to make their own food

Having a campus garden is the primary goal of the Garden Club. Their hope is to encompass garden projects into academic curriculum. The club believes that learning about plant growth can be used for design projects, business models, scientific studies, ecology labs, humanitarian aid and more.

However, accessibility is a concern.

“It would also be important for handicap accessibility, we could easily make raised flower beds,” said Harless.

The members of the Garden Club have expressed strong sup- port for not only having a garden on campus, but also maintaining it through commitment and steward- ship. “Most of us see it as fun, not work,” said Harless.

For more information on how to get involved or go green, attend Food Day October 24 and connect with the leaders of the Environmental Science & Sustainability Club and the Garden Club.

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