September 29, 2017

‘Campus Sustainability Month’ events set

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. – Southern Illinois University Carbondale will celebrate Campus Sustainability Month in October with a variety of special events and activities.

“Sustainability Month is part of an annual international celebration of sustainability in higher education,” Geory Kurtzhals, sustainability coordinator, said. “Each October, we work to create a greater awareness and understanding of sustainability while engaging students and community members who might collaborate with us to be change agents.”

Kicking things off, the Saluki Green Action Team Day event is from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 2, outside the north entrance of the Student Center. This new campus group includes students, faculty and staff who are committed to making the campus and community more sustainable, beginning with energy and water conservation. Visitors can visit the action team tent to take a special taste test, participate in other fun activities, learn more about sustainability and how to join the Saluki Green Action Team.

The First Friday Green Tours continue a tour at noon on Friday, Oct. 6. The tours are open to the public and highlight the numerous green and sustainability projects and initiatives throughout the campus. All tours depart at noon from the Innovation and Sustainability Hub, located on the north end of the first floor of the Student Center.

One of the month’s highlights is the Game Day Challenge. For SIU’s Homecoming 2017 game on Oct. 14, student volunteers will be in the tailgating area from 11 a.m. until the start of the game at 2 p.m. Volunteers will visit Saluki fans and provide designated recycling bags and encourage everyone to use them.

This is the third year the campus Sustainability Office has collaborated with Saluki Athletics, the grounds department, building services and student volunteers to encourage tailgaters and Saluki Row vendors to reduce waste and recycle at sporting events. The diversion rate, which calculates the amount of waste that goes toward recycling rather than to landfills, has grown steadily over the past three years, according to Kurtzhals.

“We had our best diversion rates at our first home game of this season, diverting 39 percent of game day waste from the landfill,” Kurtzhals said. “We are pleased with our progress and hope it continues. We would love to have an even higher diversion rate for homecoming.”

This year, Sustainability Month will also feature a Green Fund Workshop, set for noon on Oct. 23 in Morris Library, Rooms 752-754. The Green Fund, instituted in 2009 as a student-led initiative, has awarded more than $2.1 million to 169 sustainability-related projects. Competition for the funding, which comes from a $10 per semester fee paid by students, has become increasingly competitive and the quality of grant proposals continues to improve, Kurtzhals said. The workshop will introduce interested members of the SIU community to the grant program and offer valuable information about applying for funding.

Find the complete schedule of events for Sustainability Month 2017 at sustainability.siu.edu/participate/sustainability-month.php