November 1, 2011

Rain Hinders Sustainability Day

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Last Wednesday, Oct. 26, Cornell celebrated the fifth annual Campus Sustainability Day, a nationwide event, which was originally scheduled to take place in three separate locations on campus: Ho Plaza, the Engineering Quad and Ag Quad.  Prohibitive weather, however, forced the event inside.’

“Our initial goal was to have people on every quad,” said Elyssa Dixon ’12, an intern at the University’s Sustainability Office and an organizer of the event, stressing the inter-disciplinary and collaborative nature of sustainability efforts.

“Sustainability is not just environmental, its also social and economic,” said Tori Klug ’14, co-president of student organization Sustainability Hub and an organizer of the event.

Demonstrating this, some of the organizations represented included, Cornell Organization for Labor Action in addition to Big Red Bikes, Lights Off Cornell, Agua Clara, and Cornell University Sustainable Design, and even some organizations from the greater Ithaca community, such as GreenStar Natural Foods Market and Ithaca Car Share.

The Sustainability Hub website lists “environmental protection, equity, and economic development” as the means by which to achieve “long-term stability” or, sustainability.

“We aim to make sure people understand the connection between these things,” Klug said. “People across the country are starting to realize the importance of [social and economic factors],” she said.

“They are becoming increasingly apparent — especially given things like Occupy Wall Street,” she said.

Each table at the event offered a variety of activities for event-goers.

“We really tried to make it interactive this year,” Klug said.

For example, Greeks Go Green rewarded correct answers to sustainability trivia with shot-sized cups of green Jell-O; Lights Off Cornell had an energy bike which participants could pedal to demonstrate the higher energy efficiency of compact fluorescent light bulbs when compared to incandescent bulbs.

The event also hosted a raffle which people were entered based on how many plastic bags they brought along to be recycled.

The drawing for the raffle occurred this past Monday with prizes donated by the Cornell Store.

“One guy brought sixty-eight,” said Jen Weidman ’13, vice-president of the Society for Natural Resource Conservation.

The event had a lower turnout than was anticipated most likely due to the severe weather and changed location.

Original Author: Bob Hackett