Associate Features Editor
Climate change is a hot topic in the public forum recently. Earth’s denizens are getting fed up with inaction and the status quo of unsustainable and irresponsible living. The greatest cure for the existential dread and anger infesting eco-conscious individuals is action, and that is exactly what MU’s sustainability committee intends to do.
How is Millersville actively being more sustainable?
Millersville set up an entire department to oversee sustainability on campus headquartered in The Lombardo Welcome Center, the flagship of eco-friendliness on campus. Chris Steuer, Director of Sustainability, believes that is important to engage students and get them involved in sustainability goals, which is where the Student Sustainability Committee comes in.
The committee had a temporary hiatus over the past semester due to a lack in leadership, but Lauren Coca stepped up to fill the position, which is now an elected position in the SGA. In the past the committee has worked with the department to promote sustainable living primarily through education initiatives. They offered students opportunities to learn about ways they could be more sustainable through initiatives like a Green Commute Month and tabling events through PSECU. The former committee chair, Mamie Covell organized a DIY reusable bag night to educate students on upcycling, a method of turning old items into useable ones.
The current committee chair, Lauren Coca, wants to expand efforts and organize even more events to give Millersville students an opportunity to engage in sustainability. A lot of groups and people interested in sustainability and the environment advocate for changes, but she wants the committee to be focused on actually taking action, “I want to be a club that actually does something besides holding meetings,” she said.
Earth Day 2020
With the 50th anniversary of Earth Day approaching in April 2020, there is additional pressure for the committee to ramp up its efforts. One recurring Millersville event is MU Un-Plugged, a competition between residence halls to reduce energy consumption which takes place in late March. Coca also wants to organize more local clean-ups and ramp up participation in events like clothing drives. In particular, a monthly jean drive organized by DoSomething.org offers money to universities that contribute the most donations.
For Earth Day, the whole month of April will be dedicated to pushing out sustainable activities and awareness. A tabling event of up to 50 student and community organizations is planned to give their causes a platform, as well as seeing how they can integrate sustainability into their work. Getting artists involved in producing works themed around issues like climate change, getting the dining halls to be more sustainable by reducing waste by 20% by 2025 are two other initiatives proposed.
University president, Daniel Wubah has stated, “Our place is unique. Millersville University sits within Lancaster County, Pennsylvania—a location known internationally for its rich history of stewardship of the land,” in a forward to the sustainability departments climate action plan. It is a continuation of that stewardship that the Student Sustainability Committee represents.