The Collegian
Saturday, February 24, 2024

"Be One" campus campaign works towards sustainability

The "Be One" campus-wide campaign will continue to focus on highlighting and improving the University of Richmond's sustainability and decreasing the campus' carbon this school year.

"Be One" aims to educate the Richmond community about the different ways that everyone can help turn goals of sustainable actions into sustainable habits, said Megan Zanella-Litke, the sustainability coordinator.

"Often, the list of sustainability problems in the world can become overwhelming and makes it seem like individual actions won't help," Zanella-Litke said. "We want to show that, if enough individuals change one thing at a time, then collectively, we can make a big impact."

Every month will focus on one particular change that can be made in the community, Zanella-Litke said.

The monthly goals are as follows: transportation in September; water in October; food in November; recycling and reuse in February; energy in March; and "take it home" in April, Zanella-Litke said.

The theme for September's goal of transportation is "Don't Drive Alone," Zanella-Litke said.

A person who drives alone creates greater harm to the environment by burning more gasoline and releasing more greenhouse gases into the air, which increases congestion, Zanella-Litke said.

There are many alternatives to driving alone. Students can take the GRTC buses, use the university's shuttles, borrow a Zipcar, carpool or use one of the green bikes provided on campus, Zanella-Litke said.

"Not many students know this, but the options and breadth of sustainable transportation is vast," said Patrick Love, president of the Green Building Club. "We are beginning to see that more students are becoming cognizant of these other options and are beginning to use them more."

The different monthly goals aim to keep the sustainability message positive, while offering everyone specific options for sustainability actions, rather than dwelling on what people should not be doing, Zanella-Litke said.

On Sept. 28, the university will track the decreased amount of greenhouse gases emitted into the atmosphere at Richmond. Students can contact sustainability@richmond.edu on that day with how they are using forms of alternative transportation, Zanella-Litke said.

To further promote sustainable actions, there will be two campus-wide competitions during the spring semester.

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In February, the university will compete in RecycleMania, a nation-wide program aimed to promote waste reduction. In March, the university will participate in the Richmond/VCU Energy Competition, Zanella-Litke said.

The goal of the campaign is to decrease the university's carbon footprint by April, and to teach students how to apply sustainability to their own lives, Zanella-Litke said.

"My hope is that this campaign will show everyone around campus that we are part of a global effort to mitigate climate change," Love said. "What we do and how we act is crucial in solving this issue for generations to come."

Contact staff writer Ryann Dannelly at Ryann.dannelly@richmond.edu

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