BGSU marks National Campus Sustainability Month

October is National Campus Sustainability Month, a time to celebrate accomplishments and seek further opportunities for making BGSU a more energy-efficient, environmentally responsible institution. Each step brings BGSU closer to its stated goal of carbon neutrality and raises awareness.

“While there’s always something going on in the sustainability area at BGSU, it’s great to find a time to focus on our goals and how we are going to achieve them,” said Dr. Nicholas Hennessy, campus sustainability coordinator. “BGSU joins hundreds of other universities across the country in helping to connect the community to sustainability and the many benefits that can be obtained by pursuing it in our construction/renovation, purchasing choices, efforts to reduce waste, and overall campus operations.”

A number of events and activities are planned for faculty, staff and students to highlight the need for sustainability both locally and globally.

Part of the sustainability effort at BGSU, the ReStore office supply giveaway returns Oct. 18, where the University community can obtain surplus office equipment and supplies free instead of buying new. Visit the Kreischer Sun Dial Court between noon and 2 p.m. to “shop” for everything from paper and binders to desk organizers. Donations can also be made to the ReStore collection by emailing greenbg@bgsu.edu.

On Oct. 19, “The 11th Hour,” a powerful documentary on the devastating effects of climate change, will be shown at 7:30 p.m. in 108 Psychology Building. Produced by Leonardo DiCaprio, the film covers the global struggle to halt the deadly progress. A brief discussion will be held after the screening.

The next home Falcons football game, on Oct. 22, is also a Green Game Day. Recycling containers and recyclable waste collection bags will be placed throughout the Doyt Perry Stadium and the tailgate park to collect recyclables and divert them from the landfills. The partnership between the Office of Campus Sustainability and University Athletics has proven a great success with the help of student volunteers. While reducing waste, it also helps attendees make more conscious choices about their own environmentally related actions.

Highlighting the month, on Oct. 26, physics faculty member Dr. Marco Nardone will present “Solar Energy: Now and What to Expect,” a talk about his work with the National Renewable Energy Lab through the U.S. Department of Energy and where solar power is headed. Nardone’s goal is to help make solar energy technology both more reliable and more affordable. Free and open to the public, his talk will be held at 7:30 p.m. in 208 Bowen-Thompson Student Union.

All four Fridays in October will find teams of student volunteers fanning out across campus for the weekly Friday Night Lights effort. Turning off lights in classrooms and offices without automatic switches has saved the University many thousands of dollars, reduced the University’s carbon emissions and conserved tons of coal in electrical power plants since the program’s inception. Faculty and staff can help by simply turning the lights off when they leave a room on Friday evenings or afternoons.

October is also a good month to start the process of gaining “Green Office Certification.” Offices can choose steps that they can take to reduce their energy consumption and waste production, such as turning off lights, unplugging equipment when not in use, reducing paper use and trading disposable materials such as coffee mugs for reusable ones. Working with the Office of Campus Sustainability, they can come up with a plan they can commit to, and receive certification as a green office and a leader in environmental responsibility.