Many sustainability projects focused on campus

Annie Furia and Annie Furia

The University will continue its green efforts this year, combining old and new projects.

Two of the biggest new projects are “No Impact Week” and single stream recycling.

Sustainability Coordinator Nick Hennessy said, “No Impact Week will be a week where every single day we focus on a different aspect of sustainability.”

Days will have themes such as green transportation and “issues dealing with the air or issues dealing with water,” he said.

A date has not yet been set for No Impact Week.

A highly promoted project already launched this fall is single stream recycling.

“Every container across campus on every floor in every building is being converted,” said Hennessy.

The converted containers will be labelled either recycling or ‘landfill/trash.’ Hennessy said landfill is used because it “is a term a lot of universities have attached to trash” to emphasize where the trash is sent.

Hennessy is optimistic about single stream recycling encouraging students to recycle more.

“All the research and experience other universities points to increase,” he said.

Others share Hennessy’s opinion.

Joshua Chamberland, an intern in the Office of Campus Sustainability, said, “More students will definitely be more active [with recycling].”

However, they aren’t expecting the project to go off without a hitch.

“The biggest hurdle is contamination,” Hennessy said.

Contamination happens when trash or items with leftover food on them are placed in the recycling container. In order to avoid contamination, posters outlining what is and is not acceptable to recycle or throw away will be hung above the containers.

In addition to new projects, the University has many returning programs, such as the restore, where students can get gently used school supplies for free, and the Orange Bike Program, which allows members to participate in bike sharing.

Another returning program is composting.

“[The University] did a pilot program at The Oaks spring semester,” said Hennessy.

Trimmings from food prepared in The Oaks kitchen were composted, totalling about 100 pounds a week. “We decided that it really made sense to continue that for fall,” Hennessy said, and added that there are plans to do the same in Carillon.

Friday Night Lights will also be returning this year. For this program, Hennessy said students gather on Friday evenings and “go to buildings and shut off lights that would otherwise be left on for the whole weekend.” Hennessy said it takes no more than 45 minutes and saves the University thousands of dollars a year.

The program is very popular with University students. “It was started four years ago by students [and is] still very much run by students,” Hennessy said.

Chamberland said another popular program is Green Tailgating, which has been renamed Green Game Day. While Friday Night Lights saves energy, Chamberland said Green Game Day “saves tons of waste.”

In terms of reducing carbon emissions, Chamberland said both Green Game Day and Friday Night Lights are “equally as important.”

Students who wish to volunteer any sustainability event can fill out a volunteer form at bgsu.edu/sustainability.

Hennessy said one “huge” project is the President’s Climate Commitment [PCC], which seeks to get the University down to zero carbon emissions. Hennessy called the project his “number one priority.”

The Office of Campus Sustainability website lists one requirement of the PCC as, “Creating a climate action plan within two years to reduce waste and eventually aim for carbon neutrality.”

Hennessy said he is currently working on putting the climate action plan down in writing and will submit it by January.

“[The PCC] is my number one priority,” Hennessy said. “The PCC and Climate Action Plan … are the biggest thing that’s going to have an impact on the University.”