November 05, 2019

Collegiate Contributors: Students Making Waves in Sustainable Design

Rai Cornell

Students across the U.S. are doing big things in the field of sustainability. Frankly, creating a generation of sustainability experts is just what the world needs in a time of pollution, carbon emissions, and a growing demand for change. Thankfully, college goers are leading the way forward with earth-friendly practices and sustainable design.

Reel Paper Collegiate Contributers: Students Making Waves in Sustainable Design

According to The United Nations, "Should the global population reach 9.6 billion by 2050, the equivalent of almost three planets could be required to provide the natural resources needed to sustain current lifestyles." Now more than ever in the history of human civilization, our Earth needs us to make some big shifts and make them soon.

With an ever-growing global population, sustainability needs are at an all-time high. Here's what collegiate organizations are doing in the effort to go green.

Stanford University

Stanford University is one of the top U.S. colleges for environmental research. The prestigious private school is at the top of the rankings for best undergraduate environmental and environmental health engineering programs in the country.

The university has created a program called Cardinal Green that puts sustainability at the forefront of its practices. The program was designed to promote student sustainability efforts on and off-campus.

According to Stanford, in just 18 months “the university saved nearly 630,000 kilowatt hours of electricity and avoided pumping more than 735,000 pounds of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Taken together, that’s the equivalent of taking 165 cars off the road for a year." Now that's a serious shift.

If we all make small changes in our daily routines – like riding a bike instead of driving a car or turning off lights in a room that isn't in use – we can have a massive positive impact on the planet.

UC San Diego

The Student Sustainability Collective (SSC) at UC San Diego was created by a group of student leaders to promote sustainability across the school's campus and beyond.

According to the university, "The SSC emphasizes community, collaboration, and empowerment to foster a culture of responsibility and to ensure a sustainable future." The SSC, in partnership with the Sustainability Office, occupies the Sustainability Resource Centre space on campus, providing books, office hours, and funding opportunities to other eco-friendly members of the community.

The organization was created by a group of students who wanted to discuss all things environment-related and to foster global change. They took it a step further with their creation of The Green Initiative Fund, or TGIF.

Students who are enrolled at the college pay a fee of $1.60 with their tuition, that goes towards the fund. Set up after a referendum of students agreed to increase tuition fees to fund it, TGIF is akin to a scholarship and is awarded to students that apply with a sustainable design or project.

Not only are students at UC San Diego stepping up their global efforts for a brighter future, but also they’re establishing systems and resources for the next cohort of students – and the next, and the next.

Arizona State University

When it comes to global impact, Arizona State University takes their efforts seriously. The college made environmental stewardship a top priority when they created their School of Sustainability.

Reel Paper Collegiate Contributers: Students Making Waves in Sustainable Design

Established in 2006, the School of Sustainability is the “first comprehensive degree-granting program of its kind in the United States, with a focus on finding real-world solutions to environmental, economic, and social challenges.”

Among other engaging initiatives designed to get current and future students involved in their efforts, they've partnered with CannonDesign to offer a scholarship to a student who strives to bring sustainable design and sustainability to the private business sector.

Sustainable Design, Stewardship & Scholarships

Colleges all across the U.S. are rewarding students for their efforts in sustainability. Throughout Arizona, California, and other states, universities aren't taking environmental threats lightly. Their students and student organizations are making deliberate efforts to make a difference in the turn our environment is taking.

According to Cone Communications, when it comes to millennials, "88% say their job is more fulfilling when they are provided opportunities to make a positive impact on social and environmental issues." Millennials or not, students and staff at colleges across the country have taken charge of environmental protection.

Is your school, place of work, or local organization making an effort to contribute to environmental protection? Tell us about it in the comments below and plant some ideas for others to get inspired by.

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