A group of Webster students are going the extra mile and volunteering their time to educate others on the importance of environmental sustainability. The students want to bring environmentally conscious practices to the university’s campus in order to not only benefit the university’s current community but to benefit its future members as well.
These students are part of the organization, Webster Students for Environmental Sustainability. They have been providing the Webster community with opportunities to learn about incorporating sustainability into daily campus life as well as working towards their goal of transforming Webster into an environmentally sustainable university.
One of the major initiatives of the organization is the development of a natural area behind the campus parking garage. The group is looking to incorporate more natural elements, including more diverse plants and insects, into the unused area. The students have been talking with several different local companies that provide environmental sustainable landscaping and are optimistic about their goal.
“It’s a really great area for biodiversity. Right now, it is not being utilized and is often a place where trash or cigarette butts end up. However, it has the potential to be a great area for students or faculty to observe nature,” said Lindsey Heffner, the organization’s president.
Renewable Energy On Campus
The club is also currently developing plans to incorporate more renewable energy resources into the campus. There is a possibility of utilizing wind energy from a local wind farm in Illinois or maybe placing a small windmill into the potential new natural area. The group is also investigating the option of placing solar panels on a few campus buildings. Heffner noted that having Webster use natural energy would not only be great for sustainability but would also be a cost-efficient option.
“Renewable energy sources may be more expensive at first but they lower costs in the long run so it’s a smart investment to make. Plus there is nothing bad about renewable energy, there is always something bad about coal, there is no such thing as clean coal.
Learning about Environmentally Smart Choices
In February, the group sponsored a week of environmentally sustainable events which featured presentations on the benefits of local organic food, alternative transportation, and do-it-yourself recycling projects. The students will also be partnering with the non-profit organization, TerraCycle, which turns hard-to-recycle items such as chip bags or toothbrushes into reusable bags or notebooks. There will be a special marked collection bin placed on campus to collect these and other items that are usually not recyclable.
Perhaps, the Webster Students for Environmental Sustainability’s biggest goal is to impact current students because they want this generation to understand the importance of reducing consumption of energy and natural resources. Heffner explained that her peers have the chance to save the lives of future generations by becoming aware of sustainability.
“In the future, when I have children, I don’t want them to ask me why I didn’t do anything. I don’t want to look back and regret not doing anything or taking any kind of action to stop environmentally destructive behaviors.”