Campus Sustainability Day

22 10 2012

Campus Sustainability Day is a day for individual campuses all over the nation to celebrate the success of their sustainable efforts while still seeking out new ways to improve and maintain their strengths in the sustainability arena.

This national day was first celebrated in October of 2003. When it started, The Society for College and University Planning hosted a webcast where many collegiate leaders discussed ideas for integrating sustainability practices into all areas of a campus. Until 2010, these annual webcasts continued to generate conversation and analysis of the campus sustainability movement.

Then in 2011, a website was created for the purpose of sharing events and conversations hosted by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) while the anchor webcasts and other virtual conversations were still hosted every year.

For Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, the Student Organization for Sustainability did their own part to recognize campus sustainability this year, however their events happened a week before Campus Sustainability Day, which is on Oct. 24.

On Oct. 18, SOS  hosted a costume party in the Meridian Ballroom in the Morris University Center at SIUE. The theme for this costume dance was “vampires, werewolves, and zombies” and how these supernatural creatures can humorously be related to sustainability. This was a free event and had door prizes and a DJ. The Student Government had “mocktail” drinks and the Association of Students Against Poverty collected clothes to donate to the Oasis Women’s Crisis Center in Alton, IL. All students and even families were encouraged to dress up (though not necessary), show up, and have a great time.

The following day, Oct. 19, SOS hosted Global Campus Sustainability Day in the Morris University Center. The theme for this event was that sustainability has no bias and no prejudice, because it can affect everyone equally. There was also a special emphasis on showing SIUE students the importance of sustainability no matter what professional career they choose. Chancellor Julie Furst-Bowe, SOS officers, and members of SAG all gave speeches and presentations at the event, while tables were set up around the area to feature student displays of sustainability initiatives from around the world.

Finally, SOS and ECO house joined together to participate in a dumpster dive on Oct. 20. They opened up trash bags to see what people on campus were throwing away that could actually be recycled or even used for composting (if the campus had composting). What they found was incredible.

Campus Sustainability Day was greatly featured this past week at SIUE but feel free to celebrate it in your own way this Wednesday!


Feature Story: Sustainability Chats

8 10 2012

Many students at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville have asked what sustainability is when the Student Organization for Sustainability tries to reach out to them. So, SOS came up with a solution to deliver their message and educate the student body.

On Sept. 18, SOS hosted the first of many Sustainability Chats. These chats create an opportunity for students and teachers of all departments to get together to learn about and discuss sustainability.

The message SOS wants to get out with the Sustainability Chats, is that sustainability touches upon all fields and majors. Showing students this will hopefully help them make connections between sustainability and their own lives.

Kim Lee, president of SOS, said, “The chats create a chance for students to see what is going on in their fields as well as other fields of academia.” Also, they provide a chance for professors to teach whatever and however they want since it is not in a traditional classroom setting. The chats are simply supposed to be informal discussions.

The student organization wants students to see how important sustainability is no matter what career path they choose to follow, but they also want students to go above and beyond the call of duty when it comes to their education.

The idea of the Sustainability Chats came from Mark Veverka’s former experience with interactive classrooms. Veverka, vice president of SOS, said, “Instead of just listening to a lecture in these classes, the students asked questions, directed the discussion to a point and had quite a lot of input.  These classes were truly a platform for seeking knowledge and for students to expand their education.”

The Sustainability Chats took place in the Maple/Dogwood room in the Morris University Center at SIUE. From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., three different teachers from three different departments on campus talked about what they believe sustainability is and why it is important. Those who attended the chats got to hear about sustainability from the perspective of geography, sociology, and philosophy. Veverka said, “The professors chose their own format and subjects. They were able to teach from the heart on what they are passionate about. The entire hour is supposed to be very interactive so the students can become involved in the learning process.”

The next Sustainability Chats will be taking place on Nov. 7 in the Maple/Dogwood room from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. again. This time around, speakers from the Anthropology Department, English Department and National Corn to Ethanol Research Center will be speaking. This is a great opportunity for any student at SIUE to come learn about sustainability and get ideas on how they can help the sustainability movement.

DIY Laundry Soap

8 10 2012

Vice President Wolf Veverka thought it would be great to share a “Do It Yourself” recipe for making your own laundry detergent!

“The recipe is basic and has been around for decades. With this homemade laundry soap you don’t need any fabric softener and it is as powerful as name brand detergent with stain remover. My wife works in a factory and it gets every bit of grease and grime out of her work clothes without any extra stain remover needed.

You only need 2 tablespoons to do a full load and you only need enough warm water to dissolve it before you add the clothes. After that fill up the washer with cold water, even for whites.

It costs approximately 7 cents a load compared to 21 cents a load using cheap, generic laundry soap, stain remover, and fabric softener. Besides being better for the environment, it is more cost-effective than the harsh chemical filled commercial detergents.

The Recipe (Does about 25+ loads)

1 Bar of coconut oil based Castile bath soap (I use Kirk’s Natural Castile Soap)

3/4 cup of Borax (I use the 20 Mule Team Brand)

3/4 cup Washing Soda (NOT baking soda, but Arm & Hammer does make it).

Use a food or cheese grater and grate the bath soap fine. After that just gently mix in the other two ingredients until it is well blended and store in an air tight container. I usually just put it all in the air tight container and shake it up to mix it.

That’s it; easy and takes no time to make a batch. Remember, it only takes 2 tablespoons to do a full load of laundry.”

Student Profile: Brittany Buckles

26 09 2012

On September 5th, SOS had its first meeting of the new school year! There was a great turn out and it really helped kick start the club for this semester. New and returning members got to meet the officers, here about the current committees and new ones that will form, vote on meeting times (there will be two meetings a week, every other week – one on Tuesday at 5PM and one on Wednesday at 5PM), and hear about how this blog will now be run.

This blog will continue to be used to inform members on the events and activities that SOS hosts, but it will also be looking more into sustainability news in the area, the nation, and the world. Furthermore, the blog will focus more on members of the club and what they’re doing so that SOS can connect to other students by showing students just like them in the club!

At our first meeting, members were supposed to come with their own personal answer to the question, “What does local, economic sustainability mean?” They entered their name and answer into a drawing and one lucky member was able to leave the meeting with a new bike. This member was Brittany Buckles and she will be our first student profile feature!

Brittany Buckles with the bike she won.

“Hey! I’m Brittany Buckles and I won the SOS bike giveaway at the first SOS meeting. I am so grateful for the bike, and I use it every day!

My description of local sustainability included the idea and importance of supporting your local economy.  This includes buying food from local farmers markets. Local sustainability also encompasses the idea of conservation and reuse.  Only buy what you need. Also, do not use plastic bags. Bring your own reusable bags when you purchase locally produced items.

This link will lead you to several farmers’ markets in Collinsville, IL.

My views on sustainability include reducing energy costs, such as turning off lights when no eyes are present. I support implications of sustainable machinery including wind turbines, solar panels, and grey water systems. I am a founding and current resident of the Eco-House on campus, and we are currently writing grants for these things to be applied to our home. Also, a very simple step towards becoming more sustainable is replacing the use of plastic water bottles with refillable ones. (If you do not have one contact myself or Dan Burton.)

I plan to use the bike from SOS to reduce my carbon footprint. I ride it everywhere I go on campus, which is easy for me because my house is located on campus. I gave the bike I was using to Inci Genc, a Turkish Industrial engineer student here at SIUE. She is a part of the Dual Diploma Program. She could not bring her bike to school on the plane, but now she is reducing her carbon footprint as a result of me winning the bike.

You can calculate your carbon footprint here.

Sustainability is a lifestyle. Energy is neither created, nor destroyed; do the conversions wisely.”

Earth Week 2012

5 09 2012

From Monday April 23rd to Friday April 27th in 2012, SOS helped SIUE celebrate the Earth all week-long. Earth week was a huge success. Here are some of the highlights:



SOS set up outside in the quad

Sold recycled notebooks

Earth Week t-shirts

Station to make natural cleaning solution

Bike-share display

The Matt Rowland Band as musical guest



SOS set up outside in the quad

Station to make natural cleaning solution

Tell us how you will be sustainable!

Aaron Kamm and the One Drops as musical guest



SOS set up outside in the quad

Play our home-made ozone-themed carnival game to win a free plant!

Student Jazz Combo as musical quest



Workshop titled: “Integrating Sustainability into the Collegiate Lifestyle” inside the MUC featuring crafts and tips for being sustainable in your home, like:

-storing food without a refrigerator to save energy

-a recipe for making your own environmentally-friendly laundry detergent

-how to make your own paper with previously used paper

Thrown Away play performed



Volunteer in the Gardens at SIUE

Greening of the Campus Conference

5 09 2012

In March of the Spring 2012 semester, members of SOS and SAG (Sustainability Advisory Group) attended the Greening of the Campus Conference in Muncie, Indiana at Ball State University. The conference focused on Building Pedagogy, which means that actual buildings can used as a tool to teach students about sustainability. There were many classes  that our representatives attended and guest speakers that they heard speak so that they could learn more about sustainability practices at other universities across the nation. These classes focused on making buildings more energy-efficient, design techniques for reusing materials but still maintaining an aesthetic-pleasing  environment, and even how to host classes outside.

Our representatives showcasing the infamous green SIUE re-usable water bottle in Muncie, IN.

The first time the 2012 Earth Week shirts were showcased and modeled!

JAM March Update

28 03 2012

JAM has had some breaks because of Spring Break and of course the approaching finals and other class demands, but they still managed to sneak in a show on the 25th. But that’s not all SIUE’s sustainability-themed web radio show has been up to. Now, you can go to their archive site and listen to past shows for free! You can listen to each host’s section on the show and the beginning of the shows too (like the favorite cat breading conversation!). Check this site out to keep updated on the radio show and listen to the topics covered. Learn about sustainability news and share a laugh with the sometimes goofy hosts John, Amy, and Maame!


March 25th

John talked about “Hungry for Change,” a health and sustainable lifestyle documentary. Check it out!

John’s Playlist:

“Pathetique” by Andrew Bird

“Fatal Flower Garden” by Andrew Bird

“11:11” by Andrew Bird

Maame used her favorite site, and found an article on recycled furniture and a recycled home. Both of her articles were about things built from something else!

Maame’s Playlist:

“Satisfy My Soul” by Bob Marley & The Wailers

“Danger” by Erykah Badu

“I Got Five On It” by Luniz

“Love & Happiness” by Al Green

And Amy couldn’t be there so instead the radio show had yet another John on the air!

He talked about Germany and how their phasing out nuclear power.

John’s Playlist:

“Shaft in Africa” by Johnny Pate

“Let’s Get It On” by Marvin Gaye

“Pressure Drop” by Toots & the Maytals

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