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Programs on campus make efforts for sustainability

BY GRACE PATERAS | OCTOBER 22, 2014 5:00 AM

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Opportunities to calculate carbon footprints, learn about environmentally friendly eating habits, and receive advice on how to decrease energy use will be available for University of Iowa students this week.

Today is Campus Sustainability Day, which is celebrated across the nation.

Schools are encouraged to promote education and initiatives for better use of energy and the environment. Various UI groups and organizations are taking part to increase awareness across campus.

“It’s important for students to be educated on this topic so when they leave our campus, they can help build a sustainable world,” said Liz Christiansen, the director of the UI Office of Sustainability.

She said the UI has been involved in Campus Sustainability Day in previous years, but this year, officials decided to dedicate the entire week to awareness promotions.

Every day this week, table setups at various on-campus locations will give people the opportunity to take a survey that calculates carbon footprints. The results will estimate how much carbon dioxide they emit into the atmosphere.

After the survey, participants can listen to advice on how they can change their energy use, which could potentially benefit the planet.

“We’re unfortunately the generation that’ll have to tackle environmental crises,” said Andrew Hirst, an intern at the UI Office of Sustainability. “Outreach and education is just the beginning.”

He said the survey results encourage students to change their daily habits, which can help create a more sustainable world.

Christiansen said focusing on individuals’ carbon footprints can help people become more engaged with sustainability by being aware of the energy they use.

Some other examples she said the initiatives hope to highlight include making sure lights and compliances are turned off when not in use, recycling, eating local foods, and being active by biking and walking.

To do this, the office partners with Iowa State University, University of Northern Iowa, and other communities to share their successes with each other.

Today as part of the programming, a webinar will take place that focuses on solutions to making the community more environmentally friendly, as well as how people can make a difference.

Juliana Lucchesi, a graduate assistant for the UI Office of Sustainability, said these are important topics to discuss, especially in light of upcoming elections.

“Students today have more power than they realize, especially as voters,” she said. “This year is an important election year for the state of Iowa, and students can make the biggest impact on the environment by educating themselves and voting for a candidate who will protect the environment.”


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