Students looking to get involved on campus have the opportunity to become part of an organization that some said could reduce the university’s carbon footprint.
The Sustainability and Environmental Responsibility Committee held its first annual Sustainability Summit in the Ohio Union Great Hall Meeting Room from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday.
SERC is an organization that promotes green initiatives and works to improve the environment and economy on Ohio State’s campus.
Ryan Hottle, SERC committee chair, said students can become directly involved on campus by reducing energy use and consuming local and organic food.
“Every year, Ohio State University spends $60 million on electricity and gas,” Hottle said.
SERC’s goal is to have 6,000 students take a sustainability pledge on their new website by next year, Hottle said. Students take a pledge to be more energy efficient, consume local and organic foods, participate in recycling programs, cut down on water usage and find low-emission modes of transportation.
Before a panel discussion, the event hosted student organizations and local business tables.
One student organization, Trailblazers, is a group interested in helping parks and encouraging people to experience nature. Vice President Kevin Kaiser, a third-year in parks, recreation and tourism, said Trailblazers is trying to show people how to be more environmentally friendly.
“It’s to help improve parks because their budgets are being cut and encourage people to get out into nature,” Kaiser said.
Kaiser said Trailblazers is struggling to gain members, but the Sustainability Summit might help generate interest for the organization.
“It’s a good opportunity to get more members,” Kaiser said.
Some students who attended the event are involved in many student organizations for sustainability. Gabby Glenn, a first-year in human development and family studies, is a member of Students for Recycling and Students for a Sustainable Campus. Glenn said she hoped the Sustainability Summit would address issues on campus that need improvement. Glenn said she is concerned about the food-packaging waste on campus and the lack of recycling in Ohio Stadium.
“I think it’s important to keep learning about sustainability, because that is the only way to change it,” Glenn said. “Hopefully this (Sustainability Summit) will get Ohio State to be known for our sustainability intentions.”
Alyson Gray, a first-year in explorations, said sustainability is about finding the most effective way to do something with the least environmental impact.
“College students will be able to bring it on to the next step in their life,” Gray said.
During the panel discussion, James DeFrance, undergraduate representative on the President’s Council for Sustainability, said students need to pressure professors and peers to behave in ways that will save environmental resources.
“This university must crack down on waste,” DeFrance said. “What we need is pressure.”