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CSU students strive for a ‘go green’ campus

December 1, 2011

By Brittany Lett

Everyday, communities are working together trying to make their neighborhood a more “eco-friendly” environment and obtain greater sustainability.

Although 37 percent of Clevelanders think it’s important for their food to be grown locally, only 2 percent of food purchased in the region is actually grown locally.

In February of 2010, the city of Cleveland issued a request for proposals and plans for a sustainable economy in which “Sustainability Cleveland 2019” was introduced.

Every year up to 2019, a new project will be targeted to help sustain Cleveland’s economy.

Such projects include: energy efficiency, the use of local foods, clean water and green spaces, along with many others.

Students of Cleveland State are doing their part in helping CSU become a “go green” campus.

All around campus, labeled recycling bins are available for students to easily dispose their pop cans, water bottles and paper, while helping to keep the environment clean of waste.

In August of 2009, CSU alums, Erin Huber and LeeAnn Westfall, took on the task of creating a 7,000- square-foot green or “live” rooftop garden above CSU’s Recreation Center. The garden will extend the roof’s life for 30 to 40 years by protecting it from weathering. The green roof also lowers heating and cooling costs, reduces rain runoff and improves quality of air.

Environmentally-based organizations on campus are also responsible for bringing the annual Farmers Market to campus by having local farmers and small businesses bring their locally grown produce and products to campus. This process shortens the route from farm to plate, cuts pollution and makes fresh foods readily available to city workers and residents. The famers market is a main factor in CSU’s commitment to sustainability.

Organizations such as the CSU Net Impact and Student Environmental Movement are some of the organizations working together by creating more projects and educating students on being a greener CSU.

CSU Net Impact is a national organization aimed at promoting environmentally sustainable and socially responsible business practices.

“This semester we will be hosting a sustainability forum that will bring in professionals from the private, public and non-profit sectors to discuss the topic of “sustainability” with students and faculty,” said CSU Net Impact co-president, Bryce Sylvester. “This will help create awareness about sustainability and educate students about what is happening in the field.”

Last spring, CSU Net Impact hosted an Earth Day Celebration at CSU, which promoted the environmental movement. More than 1 billion people worldwide participate in Earth Day activities each year, making it the largest civic observance in the world.

The Student Environmental Movement mission is to raise awareness and promote action to improve the environment. The organization also educates students, faculty, and the community about pressing local and global environmental issues and works to improve the immediate environment around campus and downtown Cleveland.

Educational outreach programs for elementary children, taking vacant parking lots around Cleveland and turning them into urban gardens or community green space, bike rides and volunteer projects are just few of the things going on with the organization in helping CSU and Cleveland “go green.”

“I think CSU has done pretty well so far,” said President of the Student Environmental Movement, Peter Bode. “Especially with the LEED certified Recreation Center and Student Center.”

Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) is an internationally recognized green building certification system which promotes sustainable building and development practices through a suite of rating systems.

However, both Sylvester and Bode agree that there is always room for improvement.
Waste management is one of the main things that can be easily improved if more recycling receptacles around campus with identifiable advertising that will help encourage students to recycle more.

“We keep our small groups of motivated people on the same track,” Bode said. “Because if we don’t, I don’t think the college would do as much as they are.”

In order to keep CSU in the right direction of sustainability, “go green” based organizations have to work together by continuing to inform students on the issues and making improvements. However, students need to do their part in helping to putting them into action.

For more information or questions on CSU “go green” projects or organizations, contact CSU Net Impact at csunetimpact@gmail.com or Peter Bode at petebode@hotmail.com.