How to make a difference living sustainability

Even with the environmental problems the world faces, raising awareness and getting people to act is no simple task. Starting small and taking initiative is key to helping the environment. Geneseo students can start off with the following simple steps:

1. Incorporate activities into everyday routines

2. Recycle properly

“Pay attention to the recycling posters on the trash bins,” senior president of Geneseo Environmental Organization Jennifer Benson said. While you’re in dining halls, try to choose food items in the dining halls that has as little packaging as possible and bring reusable mugs, Benson suggests.

3. Unplug devices

Associate professor of biology and co-director of the sustainability commission Kristina Hannam recommends killing your “phantom energy hogs” by unplugging devices such as cell phones or camera battery chargers when they are not in use.

4. Take the Livingston Area Transportation Service bus

Instead of driving a car around the small campus and town, take advantage of the free bus services!

5. Turn off the tap all the way

These quick tips require minimum effort that can help conserve energy and preserve the environment.

Being aware of the impacts of consumption choices is crucial to making an impact. Some of these efforts may not be as effective as other equal uses of time spent trying to help the environment, however.

“I wonder about where we want to spend our time … We could spend an extra hour in the grocery store every time we go reading the fine print of all the food labels, as an example,” Hannam said. “I am not saying that that is a bad thing to do, but that same of hour of your time spent with an organization that’s really working to make a bigger scale change, in the end, might be a better use of your time.”

Clubs that promote sustainability are not solely restricted to ones like to GEO. Hannam said that sustainability is a concept that encompasses much more than that.

“If you define sustainability very broadly, then any of the social justice organizations on campus would be included in that,” Hannam said.

Hannam suggests Habitat for Humanity and Livingston CARES as “all of those fall under the umbrella of sustainability.”

“I think, if you found an organization and a purpose that [students] felt passionate about and [were] active in it, then we could make some real changes,” she said.

Geneseo also holds various programs throughout the year to promote sustainability.

- Earth Week: GEO hosted seven days with different themes for each day. One event included Dumpster Dive, assessing the trash for the percentage of volume that could’ve been recycled and removed from the waste stream. GEO is planning to host another Earth Week in April.

- Kill-A-Watt: GEO hosts a contest that is also aimed at getting students to reduce energy consumption. It is a “month-long incentive in the dorms to try to get people to reduce their consumption of electricity,” Benson said. Energy consumption levels are compared from the previous year. The residence hall with the greatest decline in percentage of electricity wins a pizza party.

- TerraCycle: Residence Halls collect items that are not traditionally recyclable – such as shampoo bottles, makeup containers and shoes – and send them to TerraCycle. In return, TerraCycle will send points that translate to money going to charity.