Monday, October 8, 2012

Students stay green

By Kelsey Mejlaender, Copy Editor

Living off-campus is not a reason to stop being sustainable
Reduce, reuse and recycle. Sustainability may be the cardinal rule on campus, but once off-campus, students may feel their fervor to reduce, reuse and recycle flagging. 

Our environmentally- conscious college makes sustainability easy. From military stop showerheads to composting, students never need to worry that they’re not treating the environment well.

We live in an eco-friendly bubble that’s going to pop with one sharp bite of reality the second we move out.    

Sometimes the simplest of things, like recycling, can be a challenge because your new home may not be registered for recycling and glass isn’t recycled in your area.

Students living off-campus, however, do have the advantage of living near PLU. They still have access to organizations like Grassroots Environmental Action Now (GREAN), the sustainability club on campus.

Senior Ethan Manthey, public relations director of GREAN, suggested vegetarianism as a great way to help the environment because of “how much energy goes into raising a cow versus growing grain.”

Vegetarian students can meet with PLU’s nutritionist - a position added as part of the new Wellness Plan - to make sure they’re working enough protein into their diets.

Chrissy Cooley, sustainability manager, said PLU can “make it easy to build those [sustainable] behaviors” with places like SurPLUs, where students can drop off old possessions versus throwing them away. The bike Co-op allows students to rent bikes and fixes any students’ bike without charging for labor.

Composting also remains an option, since off-campus students can request a composting bin for their house and bring it to the Anderson University Center to be emptied and washed out.

Even with these opportunities, some students living off-campus, like junior Aaron Bizier, have found balancing homework, new responsibilities and sustainability challenging.

“Me and my housemates could do better,” Bizier said. “You have to start thinking about it yourself and remembering about it yourself. You don’t have PLU as a crutch to remember to be sustainable.”

The little things like unplugging your toaster, or turning off lights might not occur to you if your electricity is included in your rent.

Senior Hanna Hill said she and her housemates were pretty sustainable and even set up their own composting system in their backyard, which, depending on your landlord, anyone can do.

For all our efforts to go green and stay green, however, once we take the final leap and leave college, many of us will slump back into some of our old earth-harming habits.

Our college safety net won’t be around forever. Talk to GREAN, learn about sustainability and don’t relegate staying green to the bottom rung.

Students need to think ahead and be aware because our generation is going to be the one that either makes this planet, or breaks it.