UNO hosts sustainability month

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Photo Courtesy of unomaha.edu
Photo Courtesy of unomaha.edu

Elizabeth Stevens
CONTRIBUTOR

The Center for Urban Sustainability is hosting the first UNO sustainability month in October, which aims to educate students about what sustainability is and what it means to adopt a sustainable lifestyle.

Sustainability is the idea of using resources in a way that allows those resources to be maintained at the same rate or level.

“It is like a three-legged stool,” Farrah Grant, Center for Urban Sustainability project coordinator said. The legs of the stool represent the environment, economy and society. In order for something to be sustainable, all three components must be present.

This month, the Urban Sustainability department will host several talks on social and environmental issues, movie events and demonstrations on how to live a sustainable lifestyle.

Events will be hosted at several locations across UNO’s campus, including the Community Engagement Center and Milo Bail Student Center.

A variety of events will be held, including a demonstration on how rain gardens work on Oct. 11. The bio retention garden will be filled with a fire hose to see how much water the garden can absorb.

Other demonstrations will be held to teach students more about recycling, sustainable transportation and ways to get involved.

Students will also have a chance to win prizes at the events. A “Guess the Gallons” contest will be held at the rain garden demonstration. Whoever has the closest guess will win a $25 gift card, Grant said.

Free snacks will be provided during many of the events. For each event a student attends, their name will be put into a raffle. At the end of the month, the raffle winners will receive prizes.

“Not only did we want to educate and raise awareness, but we wanted to provide actual steps that people could actually take in their daily lives,” Sarah Burke, Office of Sustainability coordinator said.

At the end of the month, an event will be held to launch the Campus Kitchen food recovery program that will be managed by the student group, Every Bite Counts.

This food recovery program will make sure leftover food gets donated, according to Burke.

The Urban Sustainability department is active on Facebook with their page posting two TED talks every Tuesday, according to Burke.

The page will also feature both informational and motivational talks on sustainability.

“One misconception that people have about sustainability is that it is just recycling, turning off the light switch and not littering,” Grant said. “Sustainability is so much more; it impacts every facet of our lives.”

Sustainability doesn’t have to be an all or nothing idea, Burke said. Sustainability is about doing what a person is comfortable with and being aware that their decisions impact the community and the planet.

Sustainability can be done on a budget.

Instead of going out and shopping for organic materials, Grant said, use the local thrift store or have clothing swaps. Instead of using commercially produced cleaning products, use baking soda and vinegar. These options are cheaper and safer for the environment.

“Sustainability is all about giving people options,” Grant said. “Instead of driving to campus everyday use the MavRide program or walk. This tip will save money on gas.”

Students who want to be involved in this month’s events should go to Urban Sustainability’s Facebook page or UNO’s website to see the event schedule.

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