Over the weekend of February 28 - March 1, I attended the Southeastern Student Sustainability Conference at Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina.
This weekend was full of break-out sessions about sustainable initiatives occurring on several college campuses across the Southeast! We also were able to make several connections and fantastic memories.
I traveled up with the Ecoowls club from my school, Kennesaw State University. Here are some of the most impressive initiatives I learned about.
Appalachian State Renewable Energy Initiative (REI)
This is a student led club on their campus that receives $5 from each student's tuition yearly. So, they have thousands of dollars that they can use to invest in sustainable energy around campus. So far they have added solar panels to several buildings, a wind turbine, and are funding another club to build a solar car. They also have solar picnic table around campus that will charge phones and laptops.
University of South Carolina (USC) EcoReps
This is student organization where several students are kind of like the Lorax. They actively encourage students on campus to become more sustainable by complementing eco-friendly practices, tabling, and hosting events. They also green certify dorm rooms, offices, and events on campus. At the end of each semester they have an event called "Gone for Good" where students donate things they don't want anymore and those products get sold to the local community for cheaper prices than Goodwill! All of the money made is donated to Habitat for Humanity.
USC Community Gardens
A freshman at USC started this project. Her goal is to have a garden at each dorm building where students can grow their own vegetables. She wants the gardens to become so efficient that produce can be donated to the dining hall as well! This way the school can shop local and lower their carbon footprint from food transportation!
Think Global. Act Local.
This was the message that was pushed over the entire weekend. We need to think about how our choices and action will affect the rest of the globe. But, it is difficult and intimidating to try and take on the whole world. So, act local. Take initiative in your local area to act and inspire those around you. Support local businesses and local farms.
The best way to make a difference is participating right where you are. You may not influence the entire world, but you can teach those around you and they can teach those around them and so on, until we do reach the whole world!