Sunday, February 27, 2011

Sustainability in Practice-Student Change

Students do have a say and can affect change. Skuyler Herzog is one of those students at Washington State University. Instead of just watching sustainability unfold around campus, he chose to make something happen.

Starting this summer, a new optional fee will show up when students register for classes. Herzog stresses the importance of it being an option because he does not think students should be forced to pay for something they don’t support or believe in, though he finds it hard to think people wouldn’t want to help support the “Cougar Green Fund”. The $5 optional fee is available to students as a fee yet staff and faculty can also donate and Herzog hopes that in the future, businesses would be willing and able to match donations. Herzog stresses the importance of student participation, saying “it can’t be done without the students”.

The “Cougar Green Fund,” over the years, will hopefully grow to support large projects but for now the focus is on smaller projects such as battery recycling in the CUB and energy efficient light bulbs in the residence halls. Larger projects Herzog hopes the CFG can aid are solar power energy for the CUB or other buildings (during appropriate seasons) and a big campus garden. One of the major projects Herzog would like to look into is the use of treated gray water to irrigate green spaces on campus.

 Currently the gray water exits the Pullman Water Treatment Plant and is just emptied back into the South Fork of the Palouse River (river that runs through downtown) while fresh water is used to water the plants. The University has looked into this project but the cost is really high. Herzog would like to see the CGF share the cost with the university in the future and make this happen.

Through determination and passion, Herzog, with the help of other students and administration, showed that students do have the power to make a difference so I encourage everyone to follow your passions, put in the effort; you CAN implement change!

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