Millersville University is going green! The campus’ Center for Sustainability has begun to tear down the stereotypes surrounding the group of young environmentalists. Rather than hugging trees, the Center for Sustainability focuses on the three main pillars of sustainability as a whole: people, planet and profit.
To satisfy the “people” pillar of sustainability, issues like social justice and well-being must be brought into discussion by the campus community. Treating all human beings equally, and providing rights where they are due, plays an important role in sustainable living.
The “planet” pillar of sustainability is the most well known, and perhaps, most controversial of the three. In order to work towards a sustainable university, significant efforts must be made campus-wide by the student community to live in a more eco-friendly manner.
In order to fulfill the “profit” pillar of sustainability, the Center focuses on creating a campus environment that is more aware of concepts like fair trade, and fair wages. To create a planet of sustainable people, efforts must be made to ensure that all workers are paid proper wages for their labor.
The Center for Sustainability is an active force on Millersville’s campus, holding their first annual Campus Sustainability Day in the SMC Atrium Oct. 22, 2014. The event represented many of the sustainability efforts, both present and future, taking place on Millersville’s campus.
Each pillar was represented differently among the assorted booths. Millersville Dining Services presented information about their sustainability initiatives, and handed out pens made of recycled plastic. A group attended the event to spread the word about sustainable coffee associated with The Rainforest Alliance, and to give free samples of the coffee so that students could taste the difference. A large display was dedicated to TerraCycle, and the ways in which Millersville students are working with the organization.
TerraCycle is a sustainability organization focused on the reuse and recycling of materials that cannot be traditionally recycled. This process is called “upcycling”. These items range from Capri Sun pouches, to mascara tubes, to chip bags. The appropriate trash collected by students at Millersville is processed at the university’s Huntingdon House. This house is the central hub for the Center for Sustainability.
For each piece of trash collected and sent to TerraCycle, money is given back to the Center for Sustainability. This money is then donated to the Smile Train organization, in order to help fund a child’s life saving cleft pallet surgery.
When speaking about the future for the Center of Sustainability, Dr. Nadine Garner, head of the Center for Sustainability, said, “Over the fall semester, the Center for Sustainability will be installing receptacles and posters in every building across campus, so that all members of the campus community can have a hand in upcycling and thereby helping us generate money to save a child’s life through the Smile Train. Other plans include developing a campus-wide composting program and, believe it or not, starting a Millersville farm right next to campus! It will be a busy but awesome year, with the potential for thousands of students to get involved.”
As Dr. Garner has predicted, students are already jumping aboard the sustainability train. Millersville University senior Melissa Sell works with the Center for Sustainability whenever she can. Sell attended the Campus Sustainability Day, and stays up to date on campus sustainability efforts. “I think there is still a lot to be done here, but the fact that Millersville is taking important steps to become a community that’s coming together to preserve the ‘people, planet profit’ idea is great,” Sell said. “The Campus Sustainability Day was crucial, because it showed students what trash items can be sent to TerraCycle. It’s painless and effortless to put those things in a separate container on your way to class, or when walking past the Huntingdon House.”
Working closely with organizations like TerraCycle and Smile Train, as well as with students and community members, the Center for Sustainability seems to be a driving force on the Millersville campus. Students looking to get involved with the campaign should contact Dr. Nadine Garner at Nadine.firstname.lastname@example.org.