UH Students Make Sustainability...Sexy
The University of Hawai‘i at Manoa is bringing sexy back with a new organization aimed to connect students, faculty, staff and the community through sustainable efforts.
SustainableUH’s mission includes helping those establishing UH as a world leader in sustainable education, research and practices by facilitating community events and providing “student-power” for energy audits, waste audits, and other green workforce projects throughout the 10-campus system.
A campus-wide launch party in October celebrated this new organization. With the “Sustainability is sexy” theme, the public could swap surfboards or trade incandescent bulbs for CFL light bulbs. Paper and beverage recycling drives kick started the party as well.
Two upcoming projects for SustainableUH will include making the UHM Richardson School of Law the greenest law school in the nation and helping the Honolulu Community College save in energy expenditures. Lighting audits and dumpster dives have already started. A pilot program with Pacific Green IT to save power when using computers will be implemented as well. One of the first initiatives of Help Us Bridge, the parent organization of SustainableUH, included the success at Saunders Hall. More than $149,900 was saved in annual energy without spending one cent. Through the upcoming projects, they hope to achieve at least $150,000 in energy savings while training students on how to be green.
“We can’t do it alone (because) it’s not about one person, one organization, one campus,” Sustainability Coordinator Shanah Trevenna said. “It’s about everyone taking their unique pieces and putting it together for a really big, amazing picture.”
In order to better serve the UH system and the state, students led breakout sessions with more than 70 guests which included political, campus, business and community leaders. Discussions provided feedback on how to improve transportation, agriculture and waste management. They suggested building bike lanes and secure bike parking areas, as well as providing showers throughout the campus. Current community garden plots could also be shown through the organization’s Web site. In addressing waste management, Sustainable UH found that 84-percent of waste at UHM food locations could be composted if plastics were converted to biocompostables. Great example of how Life is Good and sustainable without much effort or cost. Cheers to these UH Students and their mentor for showing us the way.
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Alyssa Navares for PacificNetwork.tv