Five years later
Students learn to use less on Sustainability Day
Jen Rainey | Collegio Reporter
The students and faculty of Pittsburg State have taken to heart the importance of sustainable practices and several organizations got together on Wednesday, Oct. 26, to inform students through various visual demonstrations.
“Sustainability is important because it means you’re taking responsibility for the condition of the planet that you’re leaving to future generations,” said Jeanine Kunshek, junior in psychology and Spanish. “And you’re taking and using only what you need.”
Members of the Student Government Association, Residence Hall Assembly and the Office of Analysis, Assessment and Planning, were involved in the event.
“SGA ran a booth where students could stop by and guess how many plastic bottles were in a large bin,” Kunshek said. “Most students guessed around 450, but the correct number was 684.”
SGA offered a reusable shopping bag, reusable water bottle and Gorilla T-shirt to the two students who were closest to the number of recyclables on hand and all participants were entered into a drawing for a T-shirt and four winners were drawn randomly.
The SGA booth encouraged students to get involved and understand why there is a sustainability mission on campus.
According to Kunshek, this is the first year SGA has had a sustainability committee.
The activity the Residence Hall Assembly conducted was a water taste test where participants attempted to correctly identify three types of water. The students tasted water from three unmarked containers to determine if they knew the difference between tap, bottled and filtered water.
“My favorite part of Sustainability Day was RHA’s water-testing table,” Kunshek said. “I walked into it confidently, thinking I could guess correctly, but I failed miserably. I didn’t get a single one.”
According to Rachel Jordan, one of six members from RHA conducting the test, 32 people participated in the activity. Participants who guessed correctly were entered to win a water bottle.
“Each time people are convinced they’ll be able to tell what kind of water they’re drinking,” said Jordan, senior in commercial art. “Everyone thinks bottled water tastes the worst, but much of the time they can’t tell.”
Students in Joey Pogue’s small-group communication class promoted the events beforehand. They created public service announcements for GTV and Gorilla Radio, created a Facebook page and posted fliers for the event. The students also conducted a survey to learn how much their peers knew about sustainability. Other volunteers helped sort trash collected over two days from Heckert-Wells, Yates, Kelce and Hughes halls.
Edwin Stremel says he volunteered to help with Sustainability Day through SGA.
“They were trying to see how much trash could be recycled,” said Stremel, senior in automotive technology. “They did the same thing five years ago and were trying to see if there were any improvements.”
There were. Compared to five years ago, students are throwing away fewer recyclables.
According to Kunshek, Delia Lister’s biology students received extra credit for helping sort trash and President Steve Scott even helped with the event.
“There are a lot of things that can be recycled,” said Kafui Alomenu, graduate student in printing management. “Sustainability Day raised awareness of this. If we keep throwing things away instead of recycling them we’ll have nothing for the future.”