In college, it can seem like living sustainably is a challenge, but Jennifer Morse, the Office of Sustainability’s communications and outreach coordinator, said living sustainably is actually easier.
To buy a water bottle on campus everyday might seem like it’s convenient, but according to Morse, it is definitely not.
“It is not easier to buy your own water bottle,” she said. “Bringing a reusable one is less money, you don’t have to wait in line and you don’t have to contribute to waste of plastic.”
Using Weagle Water stations is cleaner than buying water in a plastic bottle, Morse said.
The Office of Sustainability offers ways sustainable living can be implemented in everyday college life.
One of Morse’s examples is alternative transportation, such as Tiger Transit, walking, riding a bike or car pooling.
Morse suggested bringing a reusable bag when shopping at the bookstore or grocery store and carrying reusable silverware so plastic does not have to be used.
Sign up for our newsletter
Get The Plainsman straight to your inbox.
The sustainability office gives out reusable silverware at different events on campus.
“We have our action guide online, which has a lot of behaviors people can do like bringing refillable water bottles and bringing a baggy for leftovers to prevent food waste,” Morse said.
She explained how living sustainably on campus can be very simple. Morse said we just have to be aware.
Morse said the Office of Sustainability will be doing a trash audit on Cater Lawn on Jan. 31.
“We are only doing trash,” Morse said. “We are going to separate it out and say, ‘This is recyclable on-campus, this is recyclable off-campus, this ends up in landfill and this is compost.’”
This event will show how the Auburn community can know and see where its trash should end up.
Morse said an obvious way to live sustainably is to avoid littering. She believes if the campus is kept up to look nice all the time, people will be less likely to litter.
“However, you can adopt a spot on campus through the Adopt-A-Spot program,” she said. “All you have to do is pick up litter in that area once a month.”
The framework of sustainability is shown on a compass that the office implements in their work. It shows that to have true sustainability, nature, economy, society and wellbeing need to be in alignment.
“A lot of people think sustainability is just nature,” Morse said. “But in order to protect the planet, you need a functional economy, society and wellbeing.”
She said it is a complex system.
“We use the compass as a reminder you can’t heighten one of these at the expense of another,” Morse said.
Although the Office of Sustainability is not in charge of recycling on campus, the bike share or Weagle Water, the office is a connecting piece to how these programs got started.
Because of their resources, Morse said students and groups can come to the office and ask for the contacts of people who can make change happen on campus.
She said the office prides itself on trying its hardest to make things in Auburn as sustainable as possible, including how events are planned.
People interested can access their Green Event Guide on the sustainability website.
“Everyone has events like birthday parties, chapter and even meetings,” Morse said. “[The website] has tips on how to make all kinds of events sustainable from having people being able to access it, like on Tiger Transit, and making sure there is a wheelchair ramp for accessibility.”
Morse believes that sustainability is an all-encompassing issue that no one can say does not apply to them.
“Sustainability applies to everyone and all majors,” she said. “Whatever it is you care about, you want it to be sustainable.”
The Office of Sustainability will host Heather Hackman to speak on social justice on Feb. 18. The talk is called “Finding Common Cause: Sustainability Through a Social Justice Lens.”
Do you like this story? The Plainsman doesn't accept money from tuition or student fees, and we don't charge a subscription fee. But you can donate to support The Plainsman.Support The Plainsman