Several tables were set up in the McGlothlin Campus Center on Wednesday as multiple campus organizations came together to raise awareness for Campus Sustainability Day.
Campus Sustainability Day is recognized annually across the nation, but this is the first year ACU has joined in the celebration. Several organizations publicized their causes in the Campus Center from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.
The group proceeded to pass out information and engage students in conversations about campus sustainability, said Dr. Jim Cooke, professor of environmental science.
Mary Caton, executive assistant to the chief financial officer, said ACU Sustainability Group, which includes several faculty, staff and students, decided to celebrate ACU’s success in several aspects of campus sustainability.
Caton said groups that participated in Campus Sustainability Day included Wildcats for Sustainability, Aramark, Locavores (an organization devoted to eating locally grown food), the ACU purchasing office and a representative from a Sierra club out of Austin.
Aramark had games, music and activities in the Bean during lunch. The Locavores brought samples of locally produced bread, honey and butter. The purchasing office, which is responsible for on campus recycling with the Blue Bag Program, provided information about their on-campus sustainability programs. The representative from Sierra talked about the Tenaska Trailblazer Project in Sweetwater.
Caton said students she talked to want to see ACU recycle more as well as want to do more personally for campus sustainability.
“One of the objectives that I have in working with this is to create a culture of sustainability where, when students graduate, it doesn’t go away,” Caton said. “If we start something we need to find a way to ‘sustain it’ and keep it moving on for the next group of students.”
Cooke said the purpose of ACU’s Campus Sustainability Day was to show people who thought ACU wasn’t doing much for campus sustainability that there are things going on behind the scenes.Â He said the event was also to encourage people to come up with new ideas about campus sustainability.
Cooke said that, as of today, there are 7 billion people in the world. It would take four to six planets worth of resources for each of those people to live like an average American, Cooke said.
“The reality is we only have one planet, and so sustainability means, ‘how can we keep seven billion people, meeting all of their needs and as many wants as possible, with the resources that we have available on one planet?'” Cooke said.
Cooke said the event was an attempt to spread the word about campus sustainability.Â He said he is unsure how often Campus Sustainability Day will occur at ACU.Â Organization and communication is difficult because ACU lacks a sustainability office, Cooke said, but different groups with ideas about sustainability are encouraged to speak up.
“We have a responsibility to use resources wisely, to use them efficiently, conserve them when possible and to share that bounty and wealth with all the people of the world,” Cooke said.