SIU celebrates Earth Month and continues its sustainability efforts – Daily Egyptian
At all times, SIU sustainability research works across disciplines to promote a cleaner, healthier environment and tackle climate change. To celebrate Earth Month, the Sustainability Office has hosted a series of events to recognize these departments and help students get out there, enjoy nature, and learn how to preserve the beautiful campus.
These events started on April 1 and will be running for the rest of the month. The sustainability office held urban cycling classes encouraging students to reduce pollution from cycling, a herbal cooking club teaching students to reduce meat consumption, and a Salukis Speak discussion for students to chat. environmental issues.
On April 22, Earth Day, the Sustainable Development Council will announce the recipients of the Student Green Fund. Justin Schoof, Director of Earth Systems and Sustainability, said this fund offers students the opportunity to start their own innovative environmental projects.
“You’ve probably noticed some of these projects on campus, which include solar-powered picnic tables where you can charge a phone or laptop, water fountains that encourage the use of reusable containers, and lots of it. ‘others,’ said Schoof.
SIU holds several titles as an eco-friendly school, such as its distinction as a Tree Campus USA destination. Jon Schoonover, professor of physical and soil hydrology in the forestry department, developed the program of placing 135 QR codes on trees on campus so that students can distinguish different types of trees.
The forestry department has participated in many research projects to help promote sustainability. Karl Williard, program coordinator and forestry program professor, said he and his students are currently working on improving water quality, a critical project that has the potential to benefit both soil fertility and water quality. drinking water in situations like Flint, Michigan.
“Dr. Schoonover and I have conducted a series of research projects on how Giant Kane (a species of bamboo) can work to protect water quality, ”said Williard.
Williard said sustainability is an essential part of the forestry department, which is often overlooked.
“Forestry is sometimes a little forgotten when it comes to what we do for sustainable management,” said Williard. “This is how we see the training we offer, it’s a lot of sustainable forest and sustainable management of natural resources. This word of sustainability is a big part of what we do. ”
Zoology is another field dedicated to sustainability. Margorie Brooks, professor of zoology, specializes in limnology, the study of lakes.
“She has been very active in creating hands-on research opportunities for students to study lakes and the challenges that lakes face, such as the bacteria we had in the campus lake a few years ago. She leveraged the Green Fund grant program to fund a project that would bring engineering and biology together, ”said Karen Schauwecker, sustainability program coordinator.
In this project, biology students tested the quality of the lake while engineering students came up with prototypes and designs of solar-powered fountains that would pump air into the lake, leaving oxygen in the lake. water, which would make it difficult for bacteria to survive.
Schauwecker said it is extremely common for such collaborations to occur, as sustainability is a far-reaching concept that affects many fields of study such as engineering, law and geography. Technology is also on the rise in environmental studies; Williard said his department uses automated water samplers as well as common devices such as GPS.
“Instead of being a solid thing that you can point and touch, it’s more of a perspective and a process that can be incorporated into almost any discipline,” Schauwecker said of sustainability. .
Schauwecker said she would like to encourage students to come to other Earth Month events on campus, such as the Eco-Rep’s Dye a Reusable Bag workshop which will take place on the East Campus on April 28, but more importantly, she said the best way for students to help make a difference is to learn about the environment and make small adjustments in their daily lives.
“Sustainability must also be viewed through a prism of equity and justice,” Schauwecker said. “We want people to enjoy and use whatever nature gives us, but we also want to make sure that everyone has access to these things. We want to make sure that our nieces, nephews and grandchildren also have safe water, clean air and healthy food. It is about the environment, but also about humans.
Journalist Elena Schauwecker can be contacted at [email protected]
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