ECSU Enhances Sustainability Efforts

Cassidy Cannon
July 16, 2012

ecsu-enhances-sustainabil Sustainability, or the conservation of environmental resources such as water and energy, has become the pressing issue of the decade. From brushing your teeth to choosing your lap top for school, the conservation of these resources impacts everything we do in our daily lives. January began a new year, and new environmental strides for Elizabeth City State University.

With the hiring of a sustainability director, and creation of the Office of Sustainability, ECSU plans to be a key player in preserving North Eastern North Carolina and reducing the University's Co2 emissions- one of the identified causes of the depletion of the ozone layer. Co2 emissions can originate from multiple places such as car exhaust and electricity.

During this preservation of North Carolina, we have expanded into national projects and initiatives by strategically partnering with key organizations such as: -The Association for the Advancement in Higher Education -Second Nature -Green For All -American College and University President's Climate Change -United Negro College Fund: Building Green

Coupled with the University's individual plans, these partnerships have aided in promoting sustainability in multiple arenas on campus, meeting and exceeding state mandates, saving University resources, and most importantly reducing our environmental impact.

ECSU has a made a multitude of strides within the university as well. In being an American College and University President's Climate Commitment signatory, ECSU agreed to build a Sustainability Steering committee that orchestrates initiatives, policies, and activities for the campus to become more environmentally friendly. The committee oversees all internal sustainability actions, and creates community geared initiatives and research for surrounding counties.

"Be Blue, Go Green!" is the campus' campaign name for the series of initiatives and activities that the students and Office of Sustainability will carry out. The slogan encourages Viking Pride while maintaining an ecofriendly life.

Sustainability has also made its way into the curriculum at ECSU. Dr. Jeffrey Rousch, an associate professor in the ECSU Biology Department, and Dr. Francisco San Juan, a professor, in the Chemistry, Geology and Physics Department, have developed a course into "ENSC 300 Global Seminar: Environment and Sustainability" where students will better understand the relationships between food, population, environment, and economics. The professors are looking forward to the class opening in the fall 2012.

Housing & Resident life staff and students are trying to increase recycling efforts. They are trying to save energy in residence halls. Partnering with the Office of Sustainability, students participated in two dorm competitions and a community service week. The dorm competitions consisted of residence halls competing to determine which group of students could recycle the most and conserve the most energy. Although the competition was tight, University Towers came out on top saving more than 20 percent on their March energy bill. In addition to the competitions, the students learned how their daily lifestyles impact the environment.

In order to increase recycling efforts, recycle bins will soon be available in student dorm rooms. A $5,000 grant, provided by The North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources, helped place recycle bins in each room in the new dormitory that is scheduled to open in the fall. These bins will make recycling easier and more practical for students.

Also in March the Office of Sustainability and students of ECSU orchestrated the University's first "Green The Block"- family and student field day. "Green the Block" is national initiative that addresses the environmental injustices that often occur in low income communities. There were about 20 companies and student organizations teaching students, faculty and staff, and community members, on the different faucets of sustainability and how they can join the movement. Vendors sold products, provided give a ways, and some even offered jobs. Students and visiting patrons were able to purchase all natural products, understand water quality differences, and appreciate CFL light bulbs.

The fall semester will also bring the students and staff a community garden! The community garden will be located between Griffin and McClendon Hall. Students, staff, and faculty can assist with the garden and most importantly collect and consume the foods grown. Faculty will also be able to use the garden as an educational piece. The remainder of produce will be donated to the local food bank.

ECSU realizes that 'Green' companies and the jobs they provide are the new portal for stable incomes, and would like to make these Green jobs readily available for students and communities in surrounding communities. This has led the Office of Sustainability and the Office of Career services to organize the areas first Green Job Fair. The job fair is composed of two portions. The first half is geared toward student internships and positions that require a degree. The second half is a community partnership, providing positions that may or may not require a degree. The job fair will be held in November 1st in the Kermit E. White Graduate and Continuing Education Center.

ECSU is more than ready to become a leader in the "Green" world. We have the tools-students faculty and staff- and are consistently finding new resources. We will continue the journey is preserving North Eastern North Carolina!

For more information:
Cassidy Cannon
Office of Sustainability
Sustainability Director
(o) 252-335-3962
clcannon@mail.ecsu.edu