Earth Day events focus on sustainability

By Tori Pappas

“NOT WASTED” was the phrase that many volunteers had on their tee shirts to celebrate Earth Day and USD’s aim for zero waste during Earth Week.

This past Tuesday, in front of the Student Life Pavilion, San Diego City Council President Todd Gloria and USD’s Associated Student President Morgan Schwanke shared their efforts to make USD more sustainable. Students and faculty came by to listen as well as grab free food and drinks from environmentally friendly vendors such as Honest Tea and ZICO coconut water.

During this campus wide event, speakers said that USD has reduced energy usage by 20 percent and water usage by 30 percent. Individuals were encouraged to double the percentages by next year.
Todd Gloria, who graduated from USD in 2000 and is now President of San Diego City Council, commemorated USD for truly “walking the walk.”

AS President Morgan Schwanke spoke about three ways USD has united around sustainability through biking, recycling and water filters on campus.

During intersession over 150 bike racks were installed on campus.

Senior Luke O’Conner has been riding his bike to school for the last year and he is extremely pleased with the new bike racks on campus.

“My bike fits better on the new bike racks,” O’Conner said. “Plus, they are more aesthetically pleasing.”

Recycling is another area that Schwanke that USD takes great pride in. USD has started the “Be Blue Go Green” initiative on campus. This organization is comprised of students who are seeking to make USD a more sustainable campus.

It is committed to reducing USD’s waste and water consumption to lower our carbon footprint through marketing campaigns, community service and outreach and eco-events. Lastly, Schwanke said that the small things that can make a big difference as well, such as the water filters on campus. The water filters provide students with cold water on hot days and urge students to reuse water bottles.
During the Earth Day celebration, Juan Carlos Rivas, the Assistant Director of Changemaker Hub, announced the winners of the “One Challenge” competition. The USD “One Challenge” is an initiative for uniting students, faculty and staff in using their imagination, hard work and passion to create ideas addressing the environment and wasteful production and consumption.

The first winner was the Exchange for Change team, led by Chantale Serad and Jenna Van Horn. Their proposed idea is to have portable recycling machines on campus that allow individuals to recycle bottles and cans in exchange for CRV refunds (California Refund Value) back on their campus cards.

The second winner was Erik Kim-Holmgren. He suggested starting a biodiesel production facility to create fuel from used cooking oil for USD vehicles. The glycerin byproduct of the process will be converted into high quality soap.

Shannon Schumacher, the final winner, proposed the idea for a Zero Waste Move Out for all on campus residential areas. This would consist of storing and selling gently used items to incoming students or donating them to those in need. All 3 winners received $2,000 to help launch their ideas.