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Indiana State University hosts first-ever Campus Sustainability Day

November 6, 2014

Indiana State University took part in a movement known as Campus Sustainability Day on Oct. 22. While this is the university's first to participate, it is observed annually on campuses across the country, giving students a gentle and engaging reminder that helping the environment isn't just for once or twice a year, but every day.

The project was helmed by Allison "Ali" Pavlicek, a graduate student in the student affairs and higher education program.

"I am currently doing my fall practicum for part of my program requiring 100 hours of hands-on experience in the field of student affairs. I do have an interest in sustainability, so I had a conversation with my supervisor about where she could see student outreach happening within sustainability," Pavlicek said. "Out of the many options she provided me with, initiating a Campus Sustainability Day here at ISU is the one that really stood out to me."

She accepted the challenge and began to organize the event in late August, striving to make it "as big as I could with the timeframe that I had," Pavlicek said. In less than two months, she was able collaborate with many campus organizations to provide the plethora of environmentally engaging activities enjoyed by students on the day of the event, such as the Sustainability Extravaganza, which took place at the fountains and kick-started the day at 10 a.m. with tables from the Institute for Community Sustainability, Epsilon Sigma Alpha and the Sycamore Environmental Action Club. Recycling center and campus life representatives were also present, providing chalking for students.

Following the fountain event was a sustainability and careers workshop -- made possible with the help of the career center -- a national broadcast provided by Second Nature and a sustainability day campus tour.

Also provided was a sustainable leadership workshop, an open house at the community garden and a recyclable fashion show. Recycling center tours were available all day, as well as trayless dining in Lincoln Quad. However, trayless dining could only be offered until dinner because of the immense student traffic in the evenings.

A zero-waste lunch in Sycamore Dining was sponsored by Food Recovery Network, which Pavlicek said helped immensely in making students, staff and faculty aware of food waste on campus. Individuals who passed through and saw the bins containing the wasted food were visibly shocked, she said.

At the end of the lunch, the amount of wasted food was as follows: 44.5 pounds of salad, 51.5 pounds of entrées, 46 pounds of sandwiches and pizza, 8 pounds of dessert. That's over 150 pounds of food, not counting 39 liters in discarded beverages.

"It's definitely a huge problem and a lot of money being wasted by Sodexo, so that means that our dining plans are mostly being paid for by food that's going in the trash," Pavlicek said. "Food Recovery Network's prime goal is to recover food like that, but Sodexo automatically does it and sends it to Catholic Charities. But the food that's already served, there's nothing we can do."

Another component of Campus Sustainability Day was the recyclable fashion show, hosted by Lights Camera Fashion, a fashion networking organization on campus, and the Indiana State University Recycle Center, who provided the materials. The show highlighted the creativity of the students, who were challenged to convert "trash" into runway-ready outfits. Results varied from a blouse with CD-accents to a full dress of plastic wrap.

"I liked how they used the recyclables together to make clothing," said Chambrielle Hills, a freshman nursing major from Maryville. "It was really unique."

A newspaper outfit complete with a newspaper skater skirt, earrings and a matching clutch purse earned a stamp of approval from Muleka Kabangu, a freshman biology student (concentrating in pre-med) from Fort Wayne. She said she appreciated the extreme detail that went into all the outfits.

Shelby Stennis, a freshman from St. Louis majoring in psychology, reflected on the importance of environmental action. She gave the show overall praise and applauded Indiana State's efforts to make recycling accessible.

"I feel personally that the whole city, everywhere, needs to be recyclable. Where I'm from, we got a fine if we didn't recycle," Stennis said.

In organizing, efforts were focused on finding campus collaborators so Pavlicek would not have to plan and provide alone. Help was swift and enthusiastic, and for that, Pavlicek said she is extremely grateful.

"Just being able to recognize those who put the time and effort -- I mean, this initiative, we got started back at the end of August, early September, so by the end of October, we were good. It was in a good spot," Pavlicek said. "I also wanted to recognize the Institute for Community Sustainability and acknowledge everything they do, not just on Campus Sustainability Day, but really every day."

Featured sponsors were Epsilon Sigma Alpha, Food Recovery Network, Campus Life, Career Center, the Recycle Center, Leadership Development, Lights Camera Fashion, Sodexo, the Vegetarian/Vegan Student Fellowship and the Sycamore Environmental Action Club. Pavlicek also thanked her supervisor and the other staff members at the Institute for Community Sustainability for their outflow of encouragement and support.

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Photos: http://isuphoto.smugmug.com/Events/Events-by-Year/2014/Sustainability-Day-2014/i-TLRCKwd/0/XL/October%2022%2C%202014sustainability%20day%200056-XL.jpg -- Students participate in the recyclable fashion show as part of Campus Sustainability Day at Indiana State University.

http://isuphoto.smugmug.com/Events/Events-by-Year/2014/Sustainability-Day-2014/i-6pJVm95/0/XL/October%2022%2C%202014sustainability%20day%200025-XL.jpg -- A student models a dress during the recyclable fashion show as part of Campus Sustainability Day at Indiana State University.

http://isuphoto.smugmug.com/Events/Events-by-Year/2014/Sustainability-Day-2014/i-XKh86QV/0/XL/October%2022%2C%202014sustainability%20day%200048-XL.jpg -- A student models a dress during the recyclable fashion show as part of Campus Sustainability Day at Indiana State University.

Contact: Allison "Ali" Pavlicek, graduate student, Indiana State University, apavlicek@sycamores.indstate.edu

Writer: Kristen Kilker, media relations assistant, Office of Communications and Marketing, Indiana State University, 812-237-3773 or kkilker1@sycamores.indstate.edu

Story Highlights

While this is the university's first to participate, it is observed annually on campuses across the country, giving students a gentle and engaging reminder that helping the environment isn't just for once or twice a year, but every day.

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