Sustainability can be many things but overall is the maintain and conserving of earth itself, its natural resources and ecosystems for present and future generations.
Sustainability is important because every living being both biotic and abiotic depend on earth for the basic means for life including food, shelter, medicine, and much more.
There are many ways to be sustainable that range from basic recycling methods to composting to using solar power to conserve energy to being apart of organizations who specialize in protecting some aspect of the environment to being a government official who write laws to protect and prohibit human activities such as logging and so much more.
One way that our campus is sustainable is through sustain coastal. Sustain coastal is a campus organization that is a student and staff led initiative. Their main purpose is to transform our campus into an environmental sustainable campus through events, academics, learning and outreach, and collaboration in the community for environmental stewardship.
One of the main ways that sustain coastal has impacted how our campus is sustainable is recycling. There are recycling centers in almost every building on campus accepting a variety of recyclables from chic fil a cups to batteries and cell phones.
My experiment included researching recycling on campus. Based on my survey results 80% of students on campus recycle, 43.3% of students recycle everyday, 63.3% of students believe Coastal is sustainable and 40% of students feel that CCU does well to provide them information, knowledge and understanding of this topic.
During my research I interviewed Jeremy Monday, the Sustainability Coordinator and Facilities Planning and Management. Based on his findings over the past 5 years of being apart of sustain coastal, Coastal Carolina as a whole our recycling rate is 20% and the goal is 30%. In the 2015-16 fiscal year, we recycled 1287.044 tons overall. Of this, 275 tons are "normal/basic" recyclables, 6.7 tons of electronics, 1.39 tons of ink, 12.7 tons of cooking oil, and 23 tons of metal.
Sustainability at the University of South Carolina Columbia. USC Columbia is a sister campus who does much with sustainability on their campus. One of USC's most greatest sustainable accomplishment is their farm and garden that started with just a box plot in 2007 that has grown into a permaculture farm that is self sustaining and student run. Stemming from the farm and garden, USC also has its own greenhouse with a hydroponics system along with a composting center.
Other than the farm and garden, one of USC's sustainability focuses is to reduce the campus carbon emissions. In 2010 USC was the first in the nation to become a carbon neutral institution. As for recycling, USC has diverted 163,298 water bottles diverted because of water refill stations and over 100,000 water bottles of been repurposed for different causes. http://www.sc.edu/green/report.php
Clemson is also very involved in sustainability on their campus. Similar to USC, their goal is to be carbon neutral within the next 10 years. So far, Clemson successfully produces their own biodiesel and had increased the usage of geothermal energy as well as solar energy for buildings around campus. As far as recycling goes, in 2011 Clemson's recycling rate was 22.2% which has almost doubled since because of growing sustainable initiatives and added 7,000 recycling bins around campus. Clemson also has its own recycling center called Kite Hall Recycling Center where students can a variety of items to be recycled. Dining halls across campus are also apart of sustainability recycling 44 tons of cardboard, 4,815 gallons of cooking oil, 13,000lbs of paper, and 4,500lbs of plastic and aluminum.
What does this mean? Sustainability comes in many forms and initiatives and are sought after by many people who believe in the importance of our environment and take on the responsibility of caring for and making human impact a positive one. Although there is so much more to be accomplished, college students and campuses are making a difference whether its just on campus and in their communities or the world.