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Sustainability Day adds herbs, blackout

November 20, 2010

By Ember Zimmerman, Staff Writer

The hall lights in Goolsby Lecture Hall were turned off in observance of Sustainability Awareness Day. Photo by Ember Zimmerman

With the slogan “Love purple, live green,” the sustainability committee was sure to get out the word about their campus-wide Sustainability Awareness Day, which happened this past Friday.

Sustainability Awareness Day was an effort to make the campus a more environmentally-aware place. Sustainability Awareness Day was organized by the Sustainability Committee, which includes members such as Rob Campbell, who is the director of the Bonner Leaders program on campus.

Throughout the day there were several activities for students to participate in such as a campus-wide blackout, a ribbon cutting for a new herb garden and tables for students to make pledges to be more environmentally conscious in the future.

Starting at 8 a.m. Friday to 8 a.m. on Saturday, students across campus worked to conserve energy, by unplugging unused electronics, using light only when necessary and taking shorter showers throughout the day.

The blackout was probably the most noticeable part of Sustainability Awareness Day, since student residence halls and lecture halls used only a minimal amount of electricity. This left several classrooms and lecture halls in the dark, literally.

One of the participating professors, Dr. Jennifer Pemberton, assistant professor of sociology, said, “everyone needs to think about sustainability. If we don’t, we’re going to run out of natural resources and make the world an unsafe place for future generations in many ways—not just pollution, but war over scarce resources.”

Dr. Pemberton feels strongly about the issue of environmentalism and will be teaching a class in the spring semester on environmental sociology, which will feature social sources of environmental degradation and ways that students can help this global problem.

Another YHC professor who participated in the event was Dr. Isabelle Therriault, assistant professor of foreign language, forwent the use of her classroom computer entirely. Instead, Therriault planned pronunciation games and worksheets for students to work on in the dim light from the windows of Goolsby Lecture Hall.

“I’m glad they’re doing it,” Therriault said.

Dr. Therriault said she recycles at home and mentioned feeling upset that there weren’t more places to recycle in Towns County or on campus.

“It hurts my heart. It really does. I really hate to throw away things that can be recycled.”

Along with the blackout, the Sustainability Committee set up in front of Goolsby Lecture Hall and outside of Grace-Rollins Dining Hall. At these tables, sustainability members gave away sustainability bags at the tables. These bags were free for students, since students pay a “green fee” as part of their tuition; however, the cost was $1 for anyone else.  As a bonus, students who signed a pledge at one of the tables to make a personal effort to lead a more environmentally-aware life, received free white boards.

In addition, At 12 p.m., in front of Grace-Rollins Dining Hall, there was a ribbon-cutting ceremony to honor YHC’s new herb garden. Some of the herbs from the garden were used in the day’s lunch, which was made largely from local produce. Since the dining hall was working to conserve electricity, the hall featured a live acoustic guitar performance, due to the lack of electricity necessary for the usual radio selections.

Overall, many students and professors participated in the day’s events, allowing YHC students and staff to take part in becoming more environmentally conscious.

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