Painting the campus palette green, the Greener Shade of Blue and You Day was held this Tuesday in the Student Union. An array of Western New York businesses, from recycled mulch to solar technology, came in to show students how to become part of companies that will help the Earth and our future.
The free event featured lectures on energy efficiency and earth-friendly door prizes; speakers explored the quantity of green jobs as an important frontier for students to investigate. The presentation showed students how to take part in these initiatives.
Mini-lectures covered topics such as green career options, voluntary opportunities, current issues, environmental solutions and philosophies. Alongside, various vendors provided information about ways to improve environmental efficiency through their products and services.
"Because of everything that UB is doing to be more sustainable… [the university] is like a giant green classroom that is preparing students for green jobs as well as in a variety of majors," said Edward Brodka, a staff associate for UB Career Services. "Majors like business or communications can work in management, human resources, marketing and sales in a variety of green industries."
"I hope that the career I end up in, which will most likely be in a university student life office, will be focused on green alternatives," said Daniel Warner, a Student Affairs administration graduate assistant. "[Green alternatives] signify an active mindset toward student and environmental welfare."
Many students are following the same trend: banking on greener, cleaner energy jobs after graduation.
"I would like to locate a green alternative job in my field," said Carolyn Casilio, a junior undecided major. "There are numerous areas in business … that you can put green ideals toward and make them healthier for the environment."
UB Green, along with UB Professional Staff Senate, the Student Association Environmental Affairs department and Campus Dining and Shops, sponsored the event. Promoting ecological sustenance and earth-friendly living among the student body and faculty is one of their many goals for this academic year.
"We wanted to provide the student body, faculty and staff members at UB [with information] about more sustainable ways to green their lives," said James Simon, an associate environmental educator for UB Green. "I think it is a great opportunity to learn about all the different options that are available to us."
Though the Greener Shade of Blue and You day was not the most popular event in the SU this year, the Pride of New York Showcase held outside received much buzz-worthy attention.
Its booths featured enthusiastic local exhibitors displaying top organic and locally grown produce and dairy products, as well as ice cream, fresh baked goods and other prepared foods. Visitors also had the chance to interact with farm animals and rescued species of injured wild birds at the Association for Wild Animal Rehabilitation and Education (AWARE) cubicle.
Many who participated or were interested enough to stop by responded with optimism.
"All together, they bring something new or different to help people be sustainable," said Ashley Welsch, a junior interdisciplinary degree programs social sciences major and a member of the SA Environmental Affairs Department. "Every little bit counts."
But not everybody had completely positive feedback. Leslie Varughese, a freshman undecided major was among one of the skeptics.
"I like the whole idea of earth-friendly living, but do you realize how much paper they wasted to promote all this?" Varughese said. "That does not seem too efficient to me."
However, Simon said that all posters used in the event were made of 100% post consumer recycled paper and that almost all of the other marketing operations were conducted through digital media. Extensive steps were taken to ensure that the event had a minimal environmental footprint.
"It is important to enhance awareness for greener living and gentler lifestyles," said Ira Geffner, a lecturer in the interdisciplinary degree program of social sciences. "It is difficult to change one's lifestyle and/or priorities unless we are aware of what's out there. Events such as these put us in touch with healthier possibilities."