Butler University’s Student Government Association is taking the university’s “green” movement into its own hands.
Its posters can be seen around campus. They read, “Don’t be trashy, recycle.”
The university itself has a vested interest in environmentally friendly practices recently.
The newly opened pharmacy building is LEED-certified, meaning it complies to environmental standards.
Butler’s Information Technology is using the Printsmart program to increase student awareness about paper usage.
“So many colleges and organizations across the U.S. are adopting more ecologically-friendly lifestyles, and I think it’s awesome that Butler is taking on this challenge,” Chris Ring, president of SGA, said. Matt Kasper, vice president of administration for SGA said that the Council for Presidential Affairs, a division of SGA, noticed that many students weren’t taking the same attitude.
“CPA thought it would be great if students also did their part in creating a more ‘green’ campus with all of these major projects occurring,” he said.
Scott Nemeth, operations committee coordinator for CPA, said this concern came out of monthly coffee chats with concerned students.
“Basically, people were concerned that there weren’t enough studentrun environmentally friendly initiatives on campus,” he said.
SGA combined its efforts with the Butler Environmental Concerns Organization.
“ECO is obviously involved in the green movement on campus already but SGA has the budget and the influence to make more of an impact on the campus, so we worked together to begin the campaign,” Nemeth said.
The campaign consists of two phases. The current phase is purely informational.
SGA is creating posters from recycled paper bags to give students tips on recycling. They are also creating a video that should hit the Internet within the next month.
Ring said the informative phase of the campaign is important.
“Educating the students will help increase the likelihood that they adopt the better habits,” he said. “I know not everyone recycles 100 percent of the time, so any effort we can make to get the student body closer to this goal is welcomed.”
Ring and Kasper also said the campaign supports IT efforts to conserve paper through the Printsmart program.
Nemeth said SGA’s green movement is designed to be easy to adopt because college students generally don’t consider environmental implications in their day-to-day lives.
“People our age generally support the ‘green’ cause but don’t do anything about it,” he said.
He said the campaign encourages students to change small lifestyle choices, like leaving the water running while brushing your teeth.
“The campaign is not forcing anything huge or life-changing on anyone,” Nemeth said. “We’re not asking people to stop driving, we’re just giving them little hints to be more aware.”
The second phase of the campaign is implementation, Nemeth said. “Eventually, we want to do something that impacts campus on a larger scale,” he said.
Nemeth said SGA isn’t set on what that larger scale project will be, but hopes it involves physical changes to campus.
“We’re looking to get ideas from programs at other colleges and other students at SGA assembly,” he said. Kasper said that the “open-endedness” of the campaign will benefit students.
“I think that this movement still has yet to reach its full potential,” he said. “But that makes this project even more exciting because students will be able to shape and direct it in the upcoming months.”
Ring has high hopes for the movement.
“I honestly think our plan will help the cause,” he said. “With the strong leadership of CPA spearheading the campaign, we will be able to make a difference on our campus and, ultimately, our world.”