Samantha Cienfuegos / Hilltop Views

According to the EPA, 67.8 million tons of waste were recycled in 2015, with paper making up more than half of that amount.

Students share ways to shrink carbon footprint

Even though St. Edward’s is considered to be a “Tree Campus USA” and was listed in The Princeton Review’s Guide to Green Colleges in 2015 and 2016, the university still has a long way to go. And what better way to reduce St. Edward’s carbon footprint as a whole than reduce each student’s individual footprint?

With over 4,000 students enrolled at St. Edward’s, there definitely has to be students who deeply care about the environment and that want to make a change. Many of these outstanding students are a part of Students for Sustainability (SFS) while others make personal changes outside of the organization. What’s important is that students are making changes that foster our planet’s growth and recovery.

While all steps towards sustainability should are big steps, SFS go above and beyond when finding new ways to help the environment. Aside from the Climate Justice Coalition, the student organization restarted a community garden located behind Teresa Hall in 2015.

“We pretty much try and work with the students and faculty to work together for an annual harvest,” Daniel Collins, former Garden Coordinator for SFS, said,

Collins went on to say, “In SFS, we strive to build a mindful relationship between students and the environment. This entails promoting sustainable lifestyle choices (reducing energy and consumption use), environmental consciousness (keeping up with current events and how they affect our community) and maintaining a discourse community that cherishes the resources and beauty of our natural world through workshops, poetry slams and political activism.”

SFS hosts meetings every second week and will be hosting one this Wednesday at 6:30pm in JBWS 261. Students interested in helping the environment and turning St. Edward’s into a greener campus should attend.

While SFS does a lot for St. Edward’s and the environment, other students are also putting in the necessary work our world so desperately needs. Jessica Riley, a second-year Social Work major and vice presidential candidate, feels a strong connection to our planet.

“Our earth is our life, and I think people forget this or at least try not to think about it. The sun, the breeze, the grass, the trees– all give me so much energy and peace,” said Riley.

Because of how Riley respects and cares for the environment, she urges her fellow students to do the same. “Recycle! There are bins across campus to put recyclables in, and it’s the easiest thing you can do to help out. Other easy tips include using a reusable water bottle and walking/biking instead of driving, every chance you get,” said Riley.

Clarissa Mae De Leon, senior Environmental Science major, is another student among the many other students passionate about sustainability. To add on to what Riley said, De Leon urges students to do two things– be aware and care.

Research the kinds of locally sourced foods that are available to you and mold your diet at least four times a week to it. Ask yourself questions like: did the meat you are eating live a good life? Did you produce more waste than you ate? Don’t take the easy way out and eat at a fast food chain,” said De Leon.

Other students should follow in their footsteps and help St. Edward’s lead other universities to a more sustainable way of life. As Collins said, the worst thing we can do is be apathetic towards this issue.

Your decisions as a citizen and consumer matter. We’re all leading by example whether we know it or not.”

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