By KYLE LEFLER
Students across campus will be spending this Saturday, Oct 8, planting trees, making reycling boxes and enjoying vegetarian cuisine to celebrate sustainability week. The university has shown commitment to sustainability in the past, creating a council to support efforts such as recycling and energy conservation, according to council member Joni Wilson, head of Facility Services.
Sustainability Day is hosted by the UMW Ecology Club in conjunction with many area organizations, as well as the university.
Ecology Club member Fariss Hodder said, “Sustainability Day is an event that brings awareness to the importance of living a sustainable lifestyle through making responsible choices in all aspects of our lives.”
Saturday’s events are planned such that the community of Fredericksburg, as well as students at UMW, will work together on sustainable projects, such as tree planting, while expanding their knowledge of sustainability through education.
Wilson and other members of the President’s Council on Sustainability stress the four different areas of a sustainable lifestyle: social, cultural, economic and environmental.
“Sustainability Day will emphasize the social side of things,” said Wilson, citing the involvement of community and students.
“We will also be participating in environmental sustainability, through the tree planting and emphasis on recycling,” Wilson continued.
Sustainability Day will feature activities from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., beginning with community tree planting.
An on-campus, vegetarian barbeque will commence at noon, in Jefferson Square.
UMW Ecology Club will host a clothing swap and a decorating workshop for dorm room recycling bins, as well as “fun sustainability games like the recycling relay” according to Ecology Club member Evelyn Hartman.
The local Sierra Club will educate attendees on the current ban on uranium mining in Virginia.
UMW Sustainability Coordinator Will Bennett encouraged students to participate in Sustainability Day.
“We want future students to be able to enjoy this campus in the same way that we did while we were here,” Bennett said.
“We hope to see a lot of students there,” Bennett continued, promoting the importance of Sustainability Day.
Wilson emphasized that one of the goals of this event is to “tie in sustainability to education.”
According to Wilson, Saturday’s event is part of the University’s commitment to sustainable practices.
“The University is putting their money where their mouth is, so to speak,” she said, elaborating that sustainability is part of UMW’s long term strategic plan.
The university created an environmental sustainability minor last year and has adopted a broad set of sustainable policies for operation this year, according to UMW’s webpage on sustainability.
UMW is investigating Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver building practices for the new campus center, making it as energy efficient and environmentally friendly as possible.
LEED buildings fit a certain code of sustainable practices, such as water and energy efficiency, according to the U.S Green Building Council’s website. Wilson added that the new Dahlgren Campus will strive to be LEED certified.
Pledge cards for the D.O.T. (Do One Thing) campaign will also be available Saturday. The University’s goal is to collect 2,500 pledge cards from students and faculty, to further their commitment to sustainable practices.
Image courtesy of Kyle Lefler/The Bullet