Ohio State is reaching for gold by going green.
MyActions on Campus, a social networking site dedicated to highlighting environmentally sustainable actions of students, recently placed OSU on its list of gold-level schools.
OSU, along with three other colleges — Ferrum College in Ferrum, Va., Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, and Pennsylvania State University in State College, Pa. — took top honors in the myActions Fall Semester competition, beating out more than 150 other schools. The competition was judged based on factors such as student leadership, participation, impact and initiative, according to the myActions website.
On myActions, students are able to join groups, upload photos and post statuses about actions they have taken to live a more sustainable life. Actions are recorded, and members can keep track of their progress on the website.
The four gold-level schools have succeeded in providing interaction opportunities through programs, events and campus initiatives relating to environmental sustainability, the website said.
There are four levels of excellence listed on the myActions website: green, silver, gold and platinum.
In the fall 2014 rankings, there were no schools that received the highest platinum rating.
Lindsay Lingafelter, a fourth-year in environment, economy, development and sustainability and a sustainability intern at myActions, outlined some of the green activities that students can post to the social network.
“Most of the things on there are things that you do every day whether you realize it or not,” Lingafelter said. “Like turning off the water while brushing your teeth or shutting off the lights when you leave the room.”
She said when you post enough actions, you might have a chance to win a $500 scholarship. Groups can also win $250 or $500 for philanthropic projects.
Although these prizes are appealing, they are not the only incentive for being green, Lingafelter said.
Once a certain level of actions is reached, the site sends donations to four nonprofit organizations, she said. The donation money comes from myActions’ partner companies and corporations, Lingafelter added.
The four organizations are American Red Cross, Keep America Beautiful, the Nature Conservancy and World Wildlife Fund.
“You get to choose your philanthropy out of those four … as you do actions, money can go to that,” Lingafelter said.
She said she has enjoyed using myActions as an economical way to stay involved in philanthropic causes.
“I’ve donated $6, but I haven’t spent a cent of my own money, which is also really cool,” Lingafelter said.
But Lingafelter is not the only person contributing to OSU’s success on myActions. The OSU page currently has more than 220 members, who have recorded 5,157 actions and donated $114 as of Monday evening.
While the donations are important, the site also tracks the amount of carbon dioxide that students have reduced and the money students have saved, and also shares students’ environmentally sustainable actions like reusing water bottles and carpooling.
OSU students involved with myActions have eliminated more than 23,900 pounds of carbon dioxide and collectively saved approximately $5,660 as of Monday evening.
One of these students is Michael Fearer, a third-year in electrical engineering.
Fearer has posted 229 action updates, making him the third most active student at OSU. According to the site, he has reduced more than 2,690 pounds of carbon dioxide and saved more than $500 in the process.
He said a club he is in, Net Impact, encourages all of its members to get involved in myActions.
Net Impact is a student organization that aims to educate members about “sustainability related topics and facilitate their passion, ideas and projects while helping them grow as young professionals,” according to its website.
“We’re representing Ohio State and trying to compete,” Fearer said.
Fearer said he is able to post about three times a week, and added that it isn’t as hard to do green activities as it might sound.
“I’d say 95 percent of the things I do are just things I do anyways,” Fearer said. “Sometimes when I see something on (myActions) I’ll think, ‘That would be really cool to actually do or try.’”
Some of the green activities shared on the site include running a full dishwasher, turning off the lights, recycling plastic, and eating local food.
Overall, Fearer said he is happy with OSU’s myActions achievements and with the fact that the OSU page is still growing.
“It’s a good way to see what other people are doing and what other universities are doing,” Fearer said. “You can go through them all (the actions) and say ‘Wow, I didn’t know that made such an impact.’”
New students looking to get involved in myActions can join the social networking site and the OSU page by creating an account using their osu.edu emails.