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Students heading to work on the compost piles on campus

Students activate for the environment

11:54 AM  Apr 20th, 2018
by Anna Lagattuta ’20

It’s hard to miss the compost bins in Kennedy Union, the recycling instructions in dining halls and the reusable mugs being distributed at UD’s coffee shops.

As #EarthDay approaches, it’s time to highlight one of the driving forces behind such changes: a team of passionate students from the Hanley Sustainability Institute who are educating students on the importance of sustainability.

“Environmental sustainability is a broad issue that impacts almost every aspect of our lives,” said Meg Maloney, a senior environmental biology major and the student leader of the Sustainability Reps Program.

Maloney and a group of students have been spearheading the Sustainability Activation Program, the first long-term program out of the institute directed toward all students, regardless of how much they know about sustainability.

The team developed nine online modules including videos and quizzes about how to make a difference. The videos include lifestyle adjustments centered on conservation, care and commitment. Some of the suggestions are:

  • -Unplug unused appliances and power cords.
  • -Take shorter showers to conserve water.
  • -Use reusable water bottles and coffee mugs.
  • -Make a personalized sustainability goal to commit to.

So far, approximately 2,000 UD students have participated in the modules.

“It has been an amazing experience to watch students from a diverse background come together to create some exceptional programs, that will hopefully resonate with every student across campus,” Maloney said.

Caroline Shepherd, a junior sustainability activation program leader, said the videos make being sustainable both relevant and achievable.

“We tried to make sure students really had to watch the videos because they’re not very long and have lots of awesome information that I didn’t even know before I worked on the modules. This has been a learning experience for me as well,” Shepherd said.

The students hope to offer programs in the future during resident hall and club meetings, substitute lectures and Aviate events, which allow students to accumulate participation points that translate into housing preference for the following year.

“Being sustainable is not only for tree huggers or environmental majors, it is for every living person on this planet,” Maloney said. “UD students are capable of making the world a better place — it’s our job to equip them with the tools to do so.”






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