‘Earth is Home’ goes green

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Jessica Belousov, Contributing writer

One of Mercyhurst’s core values is being globally responsible. Several organizations on campus are working hard to encourage students to practice this.

Most recently, Mercyhurst Student Government partnered with the university’s Sustainability Fund to purchase and distribute “Earth Is Home” insulated mugs to students. Mugs are still available at the MSG office.

“The goal for the mugs were to encourage students to use more sustainable methods for drinks as opposed to disposable plastic water bottles as well as provide them with an exciting giveaway that they could all use,” said senior Vincent Marrazzo, MSG president.

Parkhurst is offering a discount — 20 cents off each drink — if students use the mugs in any of the dining locations on campus.

Beyond the work of MSG, the Mercyhurst Sustainability Club has been working to focus on how students can volunteer to raise awareness for sustainability and how to help the campus and community become more sustainable.

“We want to encourage people to be globally responsible,” said Emma Mader, an Environmental Science major and president of the Sustainability Club. “We try to be a resource for students.”
For the Sustainability Club, the goal is to help students realize that sustainability can be practical.

“Being sustainable is not a big burden or change. I wanted students to realize we can still be sustainable and we have resources to do it,” Mader said.
There also seems to be a growing interest in environmental issues and sustainability as a whole.

“There’s an interest in students,” said Sarah Bennett, Mercyhurst Sustainability Coordinator and faculty adviser. “When I talk to students or faculty, we have sustainably minded thinking. Most individuals are interested.”

Mercyhurst, as a campus, has implemented sustainable practices already and has big plans to continue the movement in the future.

For example, when discussing plans for the future, Mader explained how it has been discussed to use the hill behind Warde for a garden to encourage the bee population. The club has discussed a Green Tour that would showcase the new Bee Hotel and recycling center.

This tour could encourage students to become involved and display the campus’s and club’s effort to contribute to sustainability and ultimately the planet.

Proposals that Mercyhurst’s Sustainability Fund has already participated in include water fountains installed to refill water bottles and the Bee Hotel, as well as the insulated mugs.
The importance of sustainability is growing due to the impact of climate change. It is also important to understand what that may mean on a global scale.

“Being globally responsible is understanding every action you do is taking from the Earth,” Bennett said. “It happens on a global scale. We need to be aware of that impact and make it as small as possible.”

The United States generated about 262 million tons of municipal solid waste in 2015 alone, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

“I try to get students to realize humans are a part of nature,” Christopher Dolanc, Ph.D., a professor in the Biology department and committee member of the Green Team, said. “Earth is our only home right now. We have nowhere else to live.”

As global warming becomes a greater issue, the need for sustainability and conservationist efforts also becomes greater.

“The number one thing is to reduce, but it’s also to rethink,” Bennett said. “We have 7.3 billion people on this planet and that’s growing still. We’re using more than we ever have per person.”