SLUstainability Month 2016 a Success

Facilities Services’ Department of Sustainability and Benchmarking coordinated a number of engaging events throughout the month consisting of three themes: energy conservation, alternative transportation and food waste diversion.

Empty stomachs campaign

Students and staff members took part in the Empty Stomachs Campaign in front of Griesedieck Dining Hall to raise awareness of the food waste happening on SLU’s campus.

This year’s SLUstainability Month concluded on Oct. 31.

"This year we had an increased attention on SLUstainability Month with our three themes," said Brandon Verhoff, director of sustainability and benchmarking. "As a result, more students know and are reducing their energy usage through their participation in the SLU Energy Madness competition, are utilizing alternative methods of transportation like SLU's new CarShare program, and understand the social implications for food waste on our campus.

"With this increased attention, we are able to better achieve greater good for our community and see our mission being fulfilled," he said.

Energy Conservation

Under the theme of energy conservation, the SLU Energy Madness Competition Kick-off on Oct. 3, was the featured event. The competition’s goal was to lower students’ electricity and natural gas (heating) consumption by placing the 10 north campus residence halls in a tournament that began on Oct. 3 and will run through Nov. 22.

Each round, the residence hall’s energy consumption was tracked through established electricity and natural gas meters. After round one, the six residence halls with the largest decrease in energy consumption moved on to the next round. Round two followed, with only the top two residence halls moving on to the championship in round three. The winning residence hall will get to choose a prize. Last year's tournament champion, Grand Forest Apartments, chose to place hammocks around their apartment complex. The winner of this year’s competition (currently between Griesedieck Hall and the Village Apartments) will be announced on Dec. 2.

Enterprise ribbon-cutting

Laura Forhan, director of parking and card services, Renee O'Leary of Enterprise and Kent Porterfield, Ed.D., vice president of student development, celebrate the "ribbon-cutting" kicking off the new carshare service at SLU. 

Alternative Transportation

The alternative transportation theme of SLUstainability Month featured two key events: an Alternative Transportation Fair and a Scavenger Hunt. The fair, held on Oct. 20, allowed organizations in and around the SLU community like STL MetroLink, Citizens for Modern Transit, SLU Shuttle Services, Great Rivers Greenway, Velofix, TrailNet, and DPS to set up booths to offer students, faculty and staff opportunities to learn about the different ways to navigate St. Louis through alternative means. Additionally, Enterprise introduced its CarShare program with its Blue-Ribbon Cutting ceremony.

The Scavenger Hunt ran from Oct. 11 to Oct. 31. It was based on using different modes of alternative transportation to visit interesting places around the city and then posting a picture of the place on social media with #SLUgreen16 to earn points. Several people participated, but only the top three point-earners received  prizes, such as gift cards to Green Alliance Dining restaurants, free beer from Urban Chestnut Brewery, Green Billiken t-shirts, reusable utensils, SLUstainability tumblers and other gifts.

Food Waste Diversion

The final theme, Food Waste Diversion, was comprised of three main events: Weigh the Waste, Empty Stomachs Campaign and a screening of Just Eat It. On Oct. 26, food waste from individuals eating in Griesedieck Dining Hall was collected and weighed. A total of 69 pounds of food waste was amassed within four hours, which could have fed at least 17 people for a whole day. On the following day, the Empty Stomachs Campaign featured students and staff members volunteering to stand in front of Griesedieck Dining Hall with orange tape to represent hunger over their mouths. The goal of the campaign was to bring awareness of the food waste happening on SLU’s campus every day, especially in dining halls such as Griesedieck.

Lastly, on the night of Oct. 27, the Department of Sustainability and Benchmarking hosted a screening of the award-winning documentary "Just Eat It." The documentary highlighted how the world wastes 40 percent of all the food it produces, and it provided ideas about how to combat this growing issue. 

"Of all the events from SLUstainability Month, I enjoyed participating in the Empty Stomachs Campaign the most," said Spencer Ruggles, graduate assistant and sustainability coordinator. "The event proved that you can bring awareness to the issue of food waste without having to speak a word. During the event, numerous students, faculty and staff came by our demonstration site and gave their approval of what we were doing or showed their appreciation. I think event resonated with many people."