Twenty batteries designed by Tesla Inc., were installed on campus last month to help reduce the school’s negative environmental impact on the local power grid.
By: Bria Overs, Managing Editor
With Earth Day right around the corner, a conversation about the environmental impact of this campus is more than necessary.
This university, all 15,000 students plus the faculty and staff, could be doing so much more to make a positive impact on the well-being of the earth.
“Can’t teach an old dog new tricks,” so they claim, but change isn’t impossible.
Becoming a sustainable college campus takes work and requires collaboration between the university administrators, students, faculty and staff. Based on my three years at California State University, Monterey Bay, a college that takes sustainability very seriously, I know that a proactive collective approach toward a goal of environmental consciousness is possible. This leaves no excuse for CSUDH to continue down the path of silent environmental destruction such as waste in all areas of trash, water and energy.
However, that’s not to say that there haven’t been any improvements in the past few years. About three weeks ago, CSUDH News released an article about the new energy storage system powered by 20 Tesla batteries that are meant to reduce the negative environmental impacts this university has on the local power grid.
As a student, I think it’s great that we have this new system because it’s a step toward being more environmentally friendly. But, it doesn’t solve the problems the campus faces, it only reduces an electric bill.
Now, I know some of you are thinking, “But, Bria! I recycle and I use reusable bags!”
Let me tell you why that’s not enough.
Take a look at the food options in the Loker Student Union. Oh, look! It’s our favorite sandwich shop. Now, stop feeling that hunger in your stomach and take a close look at the way they make your sandwich.
They start with a piece of paper to lay your sandwich on. After putting on all of your meats, cheeses and veggies, they wrap it in another piece of paper (or sometimes two). From there, they put it in a plastic bag with paper napkins. Let’s say you go all out and buy a cookie and a drink. That’s another paper bag and a paper/plastic cup.
You finish your satisfying sandwich and go to throw it away. Did you recycle the paper and plastic or did you throw it away in a regular bin, sending it to the landfill to be wasted and take YEARS to biodegrade?
Still think your recycling and reusable bags are enough?
Fortunately, as a fellow student, who is also guilty of not being the most environmentally conscious person, I’ve got a few suggestions for the university.
1) Work toward being zero waste by composting.
One of the best ways to reduce waste on campus is to offer a composting option. Our sister school, California State University, Monterey Bay, is known for doing this. Not only do they offer waste and recycling bins at every eating facility, they also have one set aside for composting. It’s a great way to get students to think about the impact they have on the earth while at the same time doing something about it.
2) Limit use of flyers
We’ve all seen the ridiculous amount of flyers around campus. From the dorms to the LSU bulletin boards, there are simply too many flyers. I recommend using a weekly newsletter instead of paper that no one stops to look at. It would be sent to students, faculty and staff about the events going around campus. This simple way of communication with the campus community could significantly reduce the amount of paper usage and push us toward a goal of sustainability.
These are just two of the many things we could all be doing to make the Earth a better place for those that will come after us. But, if we don’t take care of this place there won’t be anything left for future generations or us.
Keep this in mind as we get closer to celebrating the Earth this April 22:
The things we do to be environmentally conscience may seem small when it’s just us as individuals, but when we all work together, it makes a big impact. An impact that could save the Earth as we know it.
While you think about the ways to do better, remember to keep recycling, using your reusable bags and bottles and turning off the lights when you’re not in a room.
If you’re interested in learning more about saving the earth and living a sustainable lifestyle, contact the Office of Sustainability or visit their website at www.csudh.edu/sustainability for more information.