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Tuesday, May 28, 2024
The independent student publication of The University at Buffalo, since 1950

Modeling a greener lifestyle

UB is attempting to show the community that, in fact, it is easy being green.

The university served as a model for Western New York to show ways to live more eco-friendly lifestyles at the inaugural Greener Shade of Blue and You Day on Tuesday.

The event, which was sponsored by Campus Dining & Shops, featured over 30 vendors who discussed ways for people to 'green' their homes and reduce their environmental footprints.

Three speakers also shared their insights on the energy-conscious decisions people can make on a daily basis.

Jim Simon, associate environmental director of UB Green, believes the event enables the campus and the region to learn simple ways to conserve resources.

'Increasing sustainability and environmental issues are becoming more and more mainstream and people don't know about the opportunities at their fingertips,' Simon said. 'This is an opportunity for the university community to learn about simple ways for greening their lifestyle.'

According to Janiece Kiedrowski, chair of the Professional Staff Senate, the idea for A Greener Shade of Blue and You Day came about as a response to UB President John Simpson's signing of the Environmental Impact Commitment, a pledge to reduce the university's carbon footprint.

In order to carry out that pledge, Kiedrowski believes that the UB Green office needs to educate the university community and model the simple steps they can take toward becoming more 'green.'

'If we were to do better each year and make our environmental impact less each year, that's how we can serve as a model,' Kiedrowski said. 'We need to make the community aware of what we're doing.'

Because this is the first Greener Shade of Blue and You Day, Kiedrowski is hopeful that students will learn a lot from it.

'It's our first year and we're hoping to get some support and input,' Kiedrowski said.

Simon said that the UB Green office is always dedicated to fostering community awareness of environmental issues. He added that the UB Green library is open to the community to read up on these matters.

'Our work at the university doesn't stop at the borders of the campus,' Simon said. 'Our office is doing green, environmental acts in the community all the time.'

Kiedrowski believes many college students have indifferent attitudes toward preserving the environment.

'They need to be aware and take [environmental issues] more seriously,' Kiedrowski said. 'I see many students being too nonchalant about what they throw out.'

Students who attended the Greener Shade of Blue and You Day were environmentally conscious, and discussed ways they conserve resources in their everyday lives. Caitlin Caldwell, a freshman art major, is one such student.

'I save up my bottles and take them to the recycling bin,' Caldwell said.

Gero Eaton, a freshman art major, conserves resources in other ways.

'I don't waste a lot of water,' he said. 'When I brush my teeth, I shut off the water.'

Eaton's transportation methods are also more energy-conscious.

'I don't own a car,' Eaton said. 'I ride my bike instead.'

Green Options Buffalo, an organization present at the event, emphasized the importance of riding bikes as a greener way to get around. One of their programs, Recycle-A-Bike, educates the children in the community about how to repair and maintain bikes.

According to Simon, UB's expansion into the city of Buffalo calls for more energy-efficient transportation. He hopes that a light rail will connect the three campuses one day to reduce the number of vehicles commuting back and forth.

Buffalo Car Share, an organization located near South Campus, is dedicated to this purpose. This organization allows students to borrow a car to use for a couple hours to travel to class, the grocery store or the mall.

Both Simon and Kiedrowski believe that there are some basic ways for UB students to be more green-minded in their daily lives. They emphasized recycling, donating and buying from local vendors. They also said that students should turn down the heat in dorm rooms when it's not needed.

Jim Walters, the marketing manager for Solar Liberty, an organization dedicated to providing solar power to homes and businesses, believes that although his organization doesn't directly interact with students, there are plenty of ways that students can promote the work Solar Liberty does.

'More than yourself, encourage the places you're going to work at after college,' Walters said. 'Ask them how they can operate using cleaner energy.'




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