The Office of Sustainability defines sustainability as “the intentional effort to create a world that is perpetually healthy, vibrant, beautiful, and flourishing for all of Earth’s inhabitants”, according to its website. The office presents it, though, as thinking about how your life connects to the four aspects of the sustainability compass: nature, society, economics and well-being.
“Sustainability is thinking about how your life connects to those four dimensions, and the impacts of your actions on you and everything around you,” said Amy Strickland, project manager at the Office of Sustainability. “How is your student organization or group, or major, how does it connect to the dimensions and look for areas of opportunity, where you can reduce your negative impacts and increase your positive impact?”
Strickland said the best way to increase your positive impact in Auburn this fall is to start thinking about Auburn as your home for as long as you’re here.
“So, what are the impacts that I’m having when I’m here on campus?” Strickland said. “What impact does my actions have on waste, on energy, water availability?”
There’s never a better time to start practicing new habits than the start of a new semester. New semesters bring new beginnings, a time to start new practices and discard the old. This fall, don’t just consider being more eco-friendly; here are five tips to intentionally create a healthy, vibrant and flourishing community in Auburn.
1. Buy and eat locally
College students usually eat what they can get their hands on, and what’s going to be good for their wallet, but buying locally doesn’t have to be expensive and it supports your local community. O Grows Farmers Market is one of the local farmers markets that is open every Tuesday for the rest of August from 3-6p.m., across the street from the Cultural Arts Center on Glenn Street near the community garden. After August, continue to try shopping locally at the Parkway and Opelika Farmer’s Markets.
2. Use reusable products
Reusable products are ‘tools to protect tomorrow’, and make it easer to create a positive impact when you’re out and about, according to a guide from the Office of Sustainability. When you’re out shopping, use a reusable shopping bag and pick up a reusable water bottle and utensils.
The Office of Sustainability also has a picnic during Welcome Week on Aug. 18, where they will be giving away reusable utensils. Drop by at the south end of the Donald E. Davis Arboretum near the Old Rotation on Aug. 18 from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
3. Use sustainable transport
Instead of driving to campus, and because everyone knows parking is a pain, you can choose to take Tiger Transit. It may be more of a toss-up as to when you’ll arrive on campus, and you may not even arrive on-time, but the fear of not making it to a class builds character.
Additionally, this fall, Auburn will be introducing a new bike-sharing program, so you’ll have a bit more control over your ETA, while reducing the environmental impacts of driving.
One of the easiest ways to be more eco-friendly is by recycling. Auburn has countless opportunities for students to recycle around campus, with recycling bins available in every building and in every room. The Office of Sustainability also has a battery recycling program, which you can find more information about on their website.
5. Take care of yourself
This may seem like a random one, but according to Strickland, the best way to practice sustainability is to take care of yourself.
You can’t do anything for the environment or people around you if you’re not feeling the best yourself.
“Make certain that you’re supporting your own well-being first, so that you can have a positive impact in other areas as well,” Strickland said. “All of those other things are going to take kind of a back seat otherwise.”
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