CEU's Sustainable Campus Initiative, alongside students from the Department of Environmental Sciences and Policy, collaborated on WasteFest 2013 – an event that took place March 19-21 to raise awareness on campus about how we can reduce the amount of waste CEU collectively produces as a community.
“We focused on waste because we realized that it’s a very important part of our daily impact,” said Logan Strenchock, CEU’s environmental and sustainability officer, who works in the Campus Redevelopment Office. “We all come to this university, our actions contribute to our own waste footprint, and we wanted to engage with the university community to get everyone to think about their impact each day.”
A large pile of waste was on prominent display in the Octagon throughout the week, a high foot-traffic area on campus. The eye-catching heap of waste was collected from a single day’s worth of recyclable materials from the entire campus.
“I thought they might be trying to cut down on janitorial costs,” said student Andrew Burrows-Johnson jokingly, “but I think it’s a really good way to attract a lot of attention to the amount of waste CEU generates, so you actually see it rather than just having it be outside your mind.”
WasteFest organizers got creative in their efforts to reach out to and receive community participation. They encouraged people to craft pledges on a whiteboard and then had professional photos taken of them holding up their commitment to the environment. Over 100 people contributed - and the collection of photos will later be put together in an art installation. In the meantime, it’s been shared via social media.
“We want to connect people with their commitments and project that out for the wider community,” said Elana Hawke, a student in the Department of Environmental Sciences and Policy who was in charge of rallying for pledges.
Many of the WasteFest organizers are enrolled in a course entitled Environmental Politics, Communications and Activism, taught by Tamara Steger, associate professor in the Department of Environmental Sciences and Policy, and chair of the Sustainability Advisory Committee at CEU.