Building a Sustainable Campus
SIUE’s commitment to sustainability reaches many members of the University community. The Sustainability Advisory Group comprised of faculty, staff and students was created in 2008. Led by the vice chancellor for administration, the group meets regularly and provides leadership for campus sustainability initiatives by assessing progress on existing initiatives and vetting ideas for future efforts.
SIUE students learn about the University’s commitment to sustainability before they step into their first classroom. During freshman orientation, incoming SIUE students have the opportunity to visit an information table hosted by Frey Spurlock.
Students learn about:
- The definition of sustainability
- The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education
- SIUE’s Bike Share Program and Water Bottle Refill Stations
- LEED-certified and green buildings on campus
- SIUE’s Student Organization for Sustainability
- The University’s Sustainability Literacy Assessment
SIUE is also home to two sustainability-focused student organizations: Student Organization for Sustainability (SOS) and Natural Connections. Both groups work diligently toward the betterment of the world around them.
SOS student-members promote awareness of environmental issues and natural resource sustainability and plan events which help alleviate unsustainable activities. Last year, SOS members received more than 1,100 signatures from campus community members on a petition pledging continued commitment to recycling practices. The organization also collaborated with the Office of Sustainability and students from an undergraduate interpersonal communication class to host the University’s first Recycle Bowl.
The event served as a fun way to interact with students and increase recycling awareness throughout campus by allowing students to recycle a plastic bottle, aluminum can or paper cup in exchange for a reusable bottle.
Natural Connections promotes awareness of and participation in community gardens to create a connection between people and the food they consume. The student group conducts workshops to educate members on various nutritional facts of homegrown produce, as well as how to grow food and work a garden. Last year, The Gardens at SIUE, a 35-acre botanical garden on the SIUE campus, provided the group with land for an on-campus community garden. Members who participated in the planting and tending of the gardens throughout the growing season were encouraged to harvest and eat the vegetables from the garden.