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Saint Mary’s sustainability committee discusses plans for the year

| Wednesday, September 5, 2018

With a new semester in progress, Saint Mary’s has new goals to promote sustainability on campus according to the Student Government Association (SGA) sustainability committee co-chairs, juniors Kassidy Jungles and Courtney Kroschel.

“Our job is working on sustainable efforts across campus,” Jungles, who is in her third year on the committee, said.

This is Kroschel’s second year on the sustainability committee. She said the group’s initiatives last year were successful and they hope to get more participants this year.

“Last year, one of our main goals was to fundraise money for hand dryers in the student center,” Jungles said.

However, not long after raising nearly $1,000 by selling t-shirts, the sustainability committee became aware of studies suggesting hand dryers might cause hygienic issues, Kroschel said. This led the committee to spend some time pondering how they could reduce paper towel waste in the student center without the risk of spreading bacteria.

“This year our goal is to implement that money and purchase bins to compost paper towels instead of hand dryers,” Jungles said.

A composting initiative in the Noble Family Dining Hall began last fall, but it has not continued this year. Jungles said the group that started composting last year is not the sustainability committee, but the two have been in contact as the idea of composting paper towels has become closer to implementation.

Jungles said she hopes composting paper towels will become something that takes place on campus for years to come.

Beyond continuing last year’s project, the SGA sustainability committee has other initiatives for this year as they hope to start projects both outdoors and indoors.

“We’re … going to try to buy outdoor recycling bins because there are no outdoor recycling bins across campus,” Jungles said.

Kroschel said these bins, paired with the knowledge of what products can be recycled, could greatly reduce waste thrown into trash cans outside.

“Another goal this year is to do another t-shirt sale to fundraise money for new shower heads in the dorms,” Jungles said.

Most of the shower heads in the dorms are less than sustainable, as they are prone to leaking, Jungles said.

Handling issues like this is important to the campus community, Kroschel said, because previous environmental projects on campus have been successful. Among them are composting in the dining hall and the removal of plastic straws from the dining hall and cafes on campus.

“President Cervelli made the executive decision to get rid of [straws] across campus,” Jungles said.

While the SGA sustainability committee was not involved in making this decision, Jungles said the group supported it.

“We get to plan events, which is fun,” Jungles said, “but we also get to make a difference.”

She said events like one held on Earth Day last year promoted the committee’s environmental initiative while also being enjoyable for those in attendance. At this particular event, students brought an item to recycle and were given a small plant as well as information about climate change.

“We’re making impacts that will last well beyond our time here,” Kroschel said.

Jungles and Kroschel said they feel that the campus community is open to learning to become more environmentally conscious.

“A lot of students want to be environmentally friendly,” Kroschel said. “Sometimes they just need an avenue.”

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