Students call for energy conservation, improved recycling system

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Photo by Jonah Hokit

UVU continues to add to its sustainability plans and commitments, aimed at improving campus sustainability, but some students believe that the university should be doing more.

“Sustainability on campus feels poor,” said Russell Hatch, a senior in philosophy and environmental studies. “Either awareness of the issue is lacking, or students are apathetic.” 

Hatch is concerned that individuals on campus are not involved enough in sustainability efforts, which is an issue because collective participation is needed to make a difference. 

“Individual accountability can be increased by charging more [money] for one-use items, such as cups and bowls, while providing an incentive for [using] reusable containers,” Hatch said.

Jessie Hensley, a junior studying social work, expressed a concern about the use of electricity after school hours.

“There are several TVs displaying events and info all over campus, and they stay on all night,” Hensley said. “We do not need those TVs running adds all night when no one’s there. We should turn off the TVs at night.”

Merry Nguyen, a junior art major, has worked to improve recycling on campus. She expressed that she feels UVU’s recycling system is greatly lacking.

“Unfortunately, our school is kind of behind when it comes to any progress towards zero waste,” Nguyen said. “The school is doing things, don’t get me wrong, but we could be doing a lot [more]. I guess that will just take more knowledge and motivation.”

McKenna Finch, a senior history major, is the intern for Val Peterson, the vice president of finance and administration, and is working on the sustainability wall located across the hall from the Grande Ballroom in the Sorensen Center. This wall provides recycling options and will display aspects of sustainability on campus. The wall is estimated to be finished by the end of May 2018.

According to Finch, UVU is already doing some great things to improve campus sustainability: the use of the four deep geothermal wells that provide the heating and cooling needs of the campus, the use of occupancy sensors and LED fixtures, low-flow sinks and toilets, refillable water bottle stations around campus and using carpet that is made from recycled plastics. The carpet is also carbon neutral, purchased from a company that offsets its greenhouse gases by planting trees in Brazil. 

As changes to the sustainability plans are made in order to make campus more green, the sustainability committee is encouraging students to be advocates of sustainability on campus and educate each other.