Sustainability at Universities During Campus Sustainability Month & Beyond
Sustainability has long been a priority on college campuses. But today sustainability has to be taken to a higher level as the fight against climate change has come under fire. Earlier this year, President Trump announced that the United States would withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement. Shortly thereafter, mayors, governors, businesses, investors and leaders at higher education institutions signed a pledge committing to following the goals laid out in the Paris Agreement. More than 300 presidents and chancellors at some of the largest universities in the country signed the pledge.
Since 2003, hundreds of green campuses have participated in Campus Sustainability Day (historically held on the 4th Wednesday in October). Building on the success over the past decade, AASHE (The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education) has invited campuses to participate in events throughout October during Campus Sustainability Month. Campus Sustainability Month events frequently include book swaps, costume exchanges, campus clean-up events, tree plantings and more.
This year’s Campus Sustainability month will be focused around water conservation. AAHSE has partnered with Colgate-Palmolive to promote water conservation on campuses across the country. One of the easiest ways to conserve water is through shorter showers. Remind students living on-campus to be water aware with recycled 5-minute shower timers with suction backs.
In addition to water conservation, another sustainability initiative on the rise at college campus is campus farms. Campus farms teach students about sustainable agriculture. Student employees and volunteers help grow and harvest the produce. Food is then used in dining halls, sold via Community-Supported-Agriculture (CSA) or donated to local charities. This fall, dining halls at University of Michigan, will serve food grown at M's Campus Farm. This is part of the university’s goal of purchasing 20 percent sustainably sourced food by 2025.
With the school year in full swing, campus sustainability groups are working to attract new members to their groups and mapping out a game plan for the academic year. Eco Promotional Products is proud to support student groups and help them promote their message with various eco-friendly promotional products.
Eco-friendly apparel is a must for student groups. Choose from tank tops, t-shirts, hoodies and hats. Your group’s name and logo on these items will make an impression all around campus.
Attract new members to your group with a table display showcasing your mission. Start with a custom recycled table throw made from 100% recycled fiber and plastics. Add small incentives for new members like an eco-friendly key chain, recycled Frisbee, button or water bottle.
Buttons are a great to way to spread your message when worn during planned marches and events. They can then be attached to backpacks to continue spreading the message around campus on a daily basis. Recycled sunglasses are another fun, yet effective, wearable. Your group will stand out in a crowd when members are wearing matching sunglasses with your organization’s name prominently printed on them.
Colleges and universities are preparing the next generation of leaders and we hope students carry their commitment to sustainability into the workforce and into their adult lives.
Photo credit: Cornell University. Student volunteers monitor compost at the Orientation Block Party.