By Aimee Jewell–
A plethora of activities took place throughout Louisville last week, including the Campus Community Partnerships for Sustainability Conference, which educated attendees on the environmental partnership that the Metro Louisville Government, UofL, Jefferson County Public Schools, JCPS, and Jefferson Community and Technical College, JCTCS, have established.
The University of Louisville’s Sustainability Council has made significant strides in creating environmental awareness around the U of L campus. The Sustainability Council offered many crash courses around both Belknap Campus and JCTC from Nov. 1-4, educating students, faculty and locals about their environmental footprint at the annual Sustainability Conference. According to the Assistant to the Provost for Sustainability Initiatives, Justin Mog, all four of the local facets are working together for an environmentally fundamental outcome. “We’re using collective force for the greening of the entire city,” Mog stated inbetween the Bluegrass Bioneers education sessions on Friday afternoon. “The partnership works through so many committees, whether it’s joint contracting, joint planning, idea exchange, climate action plans…it’s all about educating the public.”
Along with the Campus Community Partnership for Sustainability Conference, Bluegrass Bioneers worked with the university for the fourth consecutive year to educate the public on how to think “green.” Along with the Bluegrass Bioneers program, campus sustainability leaders from over 17 Kentucky colleges and universities attended the conference to collaborate through a series of panels and workshops to exchange and share ideas. The Liberal Arts program also supplied funding for the Sustainability Council to host outside speakers to attend the four day conference, including local and national speakers such as Llewellyn Wells, Guy McPherson, Bill McKibben and Lisa Markowitz.
Since the establishment of the U of L Sustainability Council, many environmentally-friendly changes have gone on around campus. The Interdisciplinary Sustainability Symposium also took place last Thursday, to discuss cross-pollination for resilience and the importance of working together to create environmental awareness. Students, professors, and local residents were invited to a local harvest dinner and to hear keynote speaker Chris Martenson speak on his book “The Crash Course”, as well as the website he co-founded, PeakProsperity.com, and the future of our economy and environment.
To put the awareness into action, UofL has recently began the Eco-Reps program to inform campus about the importance of staying conscious of our ecological footprint. The new program calls on students, faculty, and staff alike to educate themselves on the importance of staying environmentally aware, and inform those around them. “Eco-Reps adopt a piece of the campus that is yours and you’ll be the go-to person for sustainability,” Mog described. “Be it the dorm they live in, the building they are in most often, they adopt a part of campus that they’re on the most.” With video training, a final exam and an advanced option, the UofL Sustainability Council is urging students to get involved by going to their website, www.louisville.edu/sustainability, and signing up through the Eco-Reps link.
“It’s about distributing the power in decision-making. Sustainability does not happen because someone sits in an office and dictates. sustainability is all localized; it’s all context specific. What’s sustainable for Unitas Tower may not be sustainable in Louisville Hall or in the English Department. We need people to get the basic training they need in sustainability and apply the sustainability principles to wherever they are.”
Photos: Rae Hodge/The Louisville Cardinal