Even though NSU is in the Sunshine State and has a majority science major based student body, as a university, we still fall short when it comes to being sustainable and environmentally conscious. I feel like I have sung this song a few times already in The Current, but I believe it’s worth my persistence.
Now, I’ve done some research and have looked into NSU’s sustainable practices and what I’ve found fell short of impressive given my understanding of what and how we can improve. Take reusable water bottles and the straw debate. I commend NSU for changing to paper-based straws and filling up students’ reusable bottles. However, there are only two water bottle fill stations near water fountains on the main campus. That’s not to say that I couldn’t struggle for the extra minute to guide the fountain stream into the bottle — I do — but I notice that in general, if things aren’t clearly accessible to students, they won’t be used.
Let’s talk about the Shark Shuttles. The main population of students who use the Shark Shuttles as they run currently are residents in Rolling Hills and students who have classes at the OC. Considering that we just finished building a large residential parking structure near the Mako Hall, this is not a significant amount of the population. Studies have shown that communities with reliable mass transportation can cut down on fossil fuels. As NSU is a commuter and residential university, there is no reason for those on campus to feel they need to drive to class every day if reliable transit is available.
Now to NSU and its relationship with recycling. I think a lot of the pitfalls that come with NSU’s failures in recycling efficiently are in education and availability. For the most part, this generation of students has grown up knowing about the importance of recycling. However, there still may be confusion as to what things can be recycled on campus and how it can be recycled. Hopefully, the plans of this year’s RecycleMania pan out and promote a change and educate students, but in the slim chance it doesn’t, NSU should step in and help. Signage, a quick video, really anything at this point would be helpful.
The other large issue I noticed with recycling on campus is that the proper receptacles are all over the place — and not in a good way. After I cleaned up a classroom from an event and tried to recycle clean cardboard, the only recycling bin on the entire floor was in the small printing room. Yet, in some classrooms, there is no garbage bin at all. Some classrooms just have recycling bins, which means that food waste, gum and other items are ending up in the wrong spot just because there isn’t a proper receptacle. Every class should be equipped with both, even if it is a small container.
I’m not trying to say that it is all bad news.
At least NSU is trying to be sustainable, but there are things — pretty simple things, I might add — that can boost our campus sustainability and it would be a shame if we didn’t at least step up to the plate and try.
Photo: R. Albornoz