James Garcia / Lantern photographer
Students collectively could save about $2,475 in electricity costs annually after swapping inefficient incandescent bulbs for fluorescent ones with the Undergraduate Student Government.
As a part of USG’s Out-Green the Wolverines event on Jan. 10 – Jan. 12, organizers wanted to increase environmental awareness and compete with Michigan in improving sustainability.
Michigan, due to a delay in its programming, did not compete at the same time and will try to organize an event in the future to compare those numbers to OSU’s.
USG’s sustainability committee also collected 5,382 plastic bags, the petroleum in which could power a car for 384 miles, said Dustin Homan, sustainability committee project director and fourth-year in agricultural and extension education. The event exchanged T-shirts for plastic bags that would later be recycled.
“Our goal was to give away all the T-shirts, and since we asked students to bring five bags to get a T-shirt, that would be 2,000 bags,” Homan said. “We wanted to get rid of the stock of bulbs, which was 495 (due to five that broke), so we met both goals.”
There were more than 495 bulbs recycled because students who brought bulbs after the stock was gone wanted to recycle them anyway to benefit the environment, Homan said.
Homan said USG budgeted $7,500 for the Out-Green event and their window insulation caroling project in the off-campus area, but about $7,800 was actually spent.
Claire Ravenscroft, a third-year in political science and English and project manager for USG’s marketing committee, said she was interested in creating sustainable habits that students can take with them after graduation.
“I am absolutely thrilled with our results. We collected 5,382 bags … from students, all of whom seemed very excited to take part in increasing our campus’ sustainability,” Ravenscroft said. “The fact that we ran out of materials well before the event was scheduled to end is obviously great.”
She said if there is another Out-Green event next year, which she would support, she thinks they will be better able to set goals after seeing the tremendous support from the student body this year.
“Because our results were so great this year, I think that we should definitely continue this event,” she said. “The support we received from the student body was amazing — what more of an indication do we need to keep this up?”
Sustainability has been part of our current USG’s focus and goes along with Ohio Stadium’s plan to be zero-waste.
According to the sustainability committee’s website, during the 2009 football season, OSU diverted 63.5 tons of waste, which was 43 percent of all waste, out of landfills. The stadium’s recycling program has been in place since 2007 with red recycling bins around the facility.
Maggie Oliver, the environmental issues committee’s commission chair of the University of Michigan’s student government, expressed interest in setting up an event there to compete with OSU’s collection numbers. In an email to Homan, she mentioned that the Big House is considering moving to no-waste like Ohio Stadium, so there might be potential for stadium-oriented recycling competitions in the future as well.
Ravenscroft said she hopes participants will add sustainable choices to their everyday lives.
“I hope that this event helps students realize how simple it is to make sustainable choices,” she said. “Small changes, when many people take them, yield big results.”