Temple students did not have to walk far last Wednesday to learn about the environment and eco-friendly organizations in the Philadelphia area.
The university’s second annual Sustainability Day took place around the Bell Tower, which was surrounded by a variety of vendors, clubs, departments, associations and companies all devoted to some aspect of the green movement. Numerous students paused on their ways to classes to actively engage in the activities and take a few moments to learn about sustainability.
Many vendors were eager to educate students and Philadelphia residents about their organization and what they could do to help out their cause.
Verde Styles, an environmentally friendly T-shirt company, sold shirts at a discount price of $10 to students. For each T-shirt the company sells, Verde Styles promises to plant a tree.
Cage-Free Temple, a new effort from concerned students, asked students to sign a letter to the administration that would have Temple Dining Services make the switch to only using cage-free eggs. With an office on Chestnut Street, the Sustainable Business Network was looking for Temple students and staff to volunteer. The company focuses on promoting eco-friendly businesses in the greater Philadelphia area.
Clean Water Action, PhillyCarShare, Zip Car, Waste Management, New Age Blast Media and 350 Philly were among the other organizations and clubs present.
And not all students stopped by tables for the free stuff. Many asked questions about how they could get more involved in these organizations and how they could be less wasteful and more resourceful.
“I think it’s important for not only for students but the entire community to learn more than just about recycling,” said Katherine Elmhurst, a graduate extern in the Office of Sustainability.
The Office of Sustainability collaborated with the university to make Sustainability Day possible. Currently, the office is working on many new environmental initiatives, such as Bike Temple. Although the office has always encouraged students and staff to take public transportation, Bike Temple is University-wide program that encourages bicycle-owners on campus to use their bikes as often as possible.
Other projects include plans to make Temple buildings more eco-friendly, integrating sustainability into more of Temple’s academic courses, and holding more teach-ins and lectures about environmental issues. The College of Engineering holds many of these lectures that are open to everyone and are usually advertised on Temple’s Web site.
Right now the office is working on the Climate Action plan in collaboration with the university in an effort for Temple to achieve carbon neutrality. Elmherst said this effort should be completed around May.
“It’s hard for students to realize all that Temple is doing,” said Korin Tangtrakul, president of Students for Environmental Action. Compared to other local universities, she said, “we often get tossed aside.”
But the various departments, offices and clubs at Temple are trying their best to get everyone involved and more passionate about the environment.
SEA is working on reducing the amount of plastic bags that get thrown away on a regular basis. The group aiming at getting food vendors to stop using them, and eventually, it hopes to persuade the 7-Eleven stores on Main Campus to do the same. Tangtrakul said this effort is going to take time and patience, but it will be well worth it in the end.
Gaul talked about the importance of having a day dedicated to sustainability efforts because “it makes people more aware of the environment and green activities.”
Whether Sustainability Day motivated you to just become a little greener or to become one of the next prominent environmental leaders, the best place to start is here on Main Campus.
Laura Fanciullacci can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.