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Sustainability day promotes green life styles

Submitted by Jacob Ellerbee on November 6, 2013 – 11:25 amNo Comment

Photo by Jacob Ellerbee

“Think about every product that you purchase. What is going to happen to that product when you’re finished using it or consuming it?,” Katie Becker asked Oct. 23 on National Sustainability Day, a day in which students learned about recycling and other conservation practices at UALR. 

Becker, a staff interpreter and representative on the Sustainability Committee, coordinated activities and educational booths at UALR’s Sustainability Day.

Half a dozen local organizations were present at UALR to help educate students about recycling and conservation efforts during the annual event.

A slew of events took place at UALR, including educational booths about sustainable practices, a tour of the campus garden and sign-ups for the “Take Back the Tap” initiative. Sign-ups for the “Take Back the Tap” initiative totaled nearly 50 and those people have pledged to not purchase pre-bottled water and only use refillable containers.

Many of the organizations on hand for Sustainability Day were present to educate interested passerbys about sustainable practices and ways they can make a difference by making a few small, simple adjustments in everyday living.

The Arkansas Local Food Network was one of the organizations represented at UALR. The non-profit organization seeks to make local food more available to local citizens. The ALFN helps operate an online farmers market in which anyone can shop for local foods through the comfort of a year-round online marketplace.

Director Sam Hedges was present to educate students about the benefits of buying from local farmers.

Judy Watts from Metroplan educated students about alternative transportation methods. Watts said Metroplan helps coordinate the annual “Ditch the Keys” campaign, in which people pledge to bike into work for one week out of the year.

Barbara Meier of Waste Management fielded questions regarding recycling pick-up times, what can be recycled and how to purchase compost. She said the compost that is sold is made from leftover yard work clippings and they pick up throughout the year.

Autumn Erickson with the Anthropology club helped educate students about the campus garden. She talked with students about how much progress has been made on the garden and how anyone can get involved with the garden.

Becker said recycling and conservationism is still not getting enough attention from students.

“[Sustainability is] not as good as it could be. We need to start doing some work now to try to fix some of the problems that we have created on the planet,” Becker said.

Becker said the next big event for the Sustainability Committee will be National Recycling Day which is on Nov. 15.

“We’ll have recycling collection stations set up in lot 15. There, we’ll collect large electronics, small electronics, batteries, plastics and all kinds of household chemical waste that you need to get rid of,” Becker said.

She said items will be collected and then weighed so they can quantify exactly how much material they have saved from going into a landfill.

“That info is really crucial to have here for the university, to prove that we as a university community and the university district are doing our part to be good stewards of the earth.”

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