EAC spreads awareness across campus

by Amy HaugeStaff Writer

The Environmental Awareness Club is going into full swing this year, with projects that are getting the group noticed on campus.

The group, with one year of existence under its belt, says that its membership is strong, but is always looking for new members.

“I would advise anyone who is concerned with the environment to be active and to voice your opinions and ideas,” Paige Shelton, junior and vice president of activities, said.

The group began last year when Nick Blay, 2008 alumnus, decided to start EAC with the help of Ryan Rehmeier, assistant professor of biology. It turned out to be a success with the help of other students concerned with the environment.

“There are people from almost every major on campus, and we encourage anyone who is passionate about the environment to join, Kate Tillotson, senior and president of EAC, said. “It’s not just for biology majors by any means.”

The goal of the club is to make people aware of how they can help create a sustainable lifestyle on campus. EAC recently hosted a “green” version of Bike Night, where students rode traditional bicycles. This event gave students a way to participate and have fun while becoming aware of the environment.

“Our goal is to help bring awareness to current issues, both close to home and internationally,” Tillotson said.

Many changes are happening all over campus, such as the installation of motion sensor light switches and low-flow toilets, which are run by Campus Services and the Simpson Sustainability Committee. Some projects on the table for EAC include a campus-wide recycling program, Adopt a Highway and also installing a green roof on Carver Science Building.

“We would like to see more involvement to show the administration that we really do care,” Rehmeier said.

The group will also be working with the Sustainability Committee to help create a carbon-offset program and reduce Simpson’s carbon footprint.

EAC members said there are a variety of ways for college students to lead more green-conscious lifestyles.

Recycling is one way to make an impact that the EAC promotes as easy and convenient. Also, using low energy light bulbs and taking shorter showers can greatly cut back on the amount of energy and water students use. Using cold water when doing laundry reduces the amount of energy needed for heat.

The EAC sells reusable green bags for shopping, which have become popular at many local retailers. Some, like HyVee, offer discounts to customers who bring their own bags.

Other tips the group advises are to simply turn off the lights when leaving the room and driving less when possible.

“Do what you can to help, everything has a little impact on the environment,” Tillotson said.

The EAC said that knowing what to do is key in helping to make “going green” a success.

“We need to be smarter on what to do to help,” Rehmeier said.