Earth Week highlighted by pledge on sustainability
Gretchen Burns | Collegio Reporter
Pittsburg State University celebrated Earth Week in style last week with a celebration that included historic commitments, taste tests and demonstrations of sustainable practices, among other things.
On Monday, President Steve Scott signed the American College and University President’s Climate Commitment, which will promote sustainability on campus and makes PSU the first four-year university in Kansas to enter into the agreement.
“It’s been nearly two years since Pittsburg State University formally adopted sustainability as one of our six strategic goals,” Scott said. “It is now a lens through which we view all projects and an essential part of our character.”
According to Scott, a geothermal heating and cooling system was installed in McPherson Hall and Timmons Chapel last year. He says it has reduced energy use in those buildings by more than 163,000 kilowatt-hours, or nearly 47 percent. Scott says recycling efforts on campus kept 27 tons of material out of landfills last year, including more than 2,000 pieces of electronic waste.
“In the coming months you’ll be able to see our progress in sustainability for yourself, thanks to the addition of energy monitors throughout campus,” Scott said. “These electronic monitors will report building energy usage in real time, and are another example of the technological advances we’re making in the area of sustainability.”
The university’s new bachelor of integrated studies degree with an emphasis in sustainability was praised by Scott. He says the degree will educate and prepare graduates to be in a position to work on solving some of the nation’s most difficult and important problems
The Student Activities Center handed out edible “dirt” in compostable cups. The movie “We Bought a Zoo” was the SAC Treat Night movie and was shown in Grubbs Hall.
Tuesday, the Residence Hall Assembly was out in the Oval to test students on their knowledge of organic and nonorganic food.
“We want to see if students are able to distinguish between organic and non-organic food,” said Rachel Jordan, senior in commercial art. “They taste the banana and carrot and then write down what they believe is organic. “
Students who guessed correctly had their names placed into a bowl and one name was randomly drawn for a Brita water filter.
On Wednesday, the Nature Reach Program brought raptors to the Crimson and Gold ballroom for students to see, and a presentation was given to those who attended.
Bags of trash were taken to the Oval on Thursday to be sorted into recyclable and nonrecyclable items. Kathy Benard, member of the analysis planning assessment and sustainability program, says this was done to determine how much of the trash thrown out over a three-day period could be recycled.
“It’s part of the sustainability program,” Benard said. “We wanted to get baseline data to see what is being thrown away and what could be recycled.”
The bags were weighed and helpers recorded what came out of the bags and sorted it down into separate recycling bins.
“We did this last semester for Sustainability Day,” Benard said. “And we hope to continue it to understand what people are throwing away so we can know how to educate them.”
On Saturday morning the Nature Reach program and the International Student Association sponsored a bike ride in Gorilla Village to benefit Nature Reach.