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IUPUI Sustainability Day

Sustainability Day at IUPUI, part of the Campus Sustainability Day movement, was held October 22 at Campus Center.  Campus Sustainability Day is a nationally-celebrated tradition since October 2003, and it is held annually on the 4th Wednesday of October at colleges and universities across the United States.  Its purpose is to raise awareness among students, staff, and faculty about our university's commitment to the environment and sustainability principles across multiple disciplines, including environmental conservation, social justice, health, and wellness.  IUPUI's Sustainability Day was organized by the Student Sustainability Council (connect with them on Twitter or Facebook), and the theme was the "Year of Recycling."

CEES at IUPUI Sustainability Day.  Pictured: Jessica Davis, Jacob Burch, & Danielle Follette

Multiple groups were represented at Sustainability Day including the IUPUI Office of Sustainability, IUPUI School of Public Health, IUPUI School of Public and Environmental Affairs, Earth Charter Indiana, Hoosier Environmental Council, Indiana Citizen's Alliance for Transit, IUPUI Geology Club, Hoosier Interfaith Power and Light, Indiana Recycling Coalition, and many others.  Such a diversity of groups allowed for great conversation and networking opportunities for students and staff alike!

The highlight of Sustainability Day was the dumpster dive led by Ray's Recycling Manager, Calvin Davidson.  Members of the Student Sustainability Council went to trash bins across campus and brought back 92 lbs of trash.  Then, Calvin and the students went through that trash piece by piece, pulling out items that could have been recycled.  At the end of the demonstration, about 45 lbs could have been recycled!  This activity brought to light a big issue at IUPUI and campuses across the country - not enough participation in recycling.  IUPUI's current recycle rate is only about 8%, while roughly 70% of the campus waste can be recycled.  

Though sustainability may not be explicitly stated in the CEES mission, it is intrinsically woven into it.  Many water quality issues stem from a lack of sustainable practices, from applying too much fertilizer to crops to man-made alterations to the landscape to climate change.  It is important to remember that our existence is entirely dependent upon our planet; as such, we must become more aware of our impact on it.

 

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