Sustainability Week to kick off Friday

Judson Rodriguez

Campus Sustainability Week at Grand Valley State University will start Friday with the fourth annual Sustainability Champions Awards Breakfast, celebrating individuals who support the ideals of sustainability both in practice and belief.

“We have about 40 percent of our waste being composted instead of winding up in a landfill,” said Steven Leeser, facility services operations supervisor.

These programs, he said, make the GVSU community more aware that waste can be broken down and reused.

Campus Dining and the GVSU sustainability department have made a huge impact on the composting effort, as a portion of the 248.8 tons of compost was even used in the Community Garden.

This year, the Sustainability Community Development Initiative will partner with Colin Beavan, otherwise known as the No Impact Man, to bring a different experience to CSW.

Beavan’s No Impact Experiment, GVSU’s theme for CSW, focuses on whether or not living a zero-impact lifestyle will lead to a happier existence.

Beavan lived completely without an environmental impact in New York City, eating locally-produced seasonal foods and using no elevators or electricity.

“Each day, we will focus on a specific aspect of life — trash, food, transportation, etc. — and will challenge you to reduce your impact in that area,” said Jenny Jordan, a graduate assistant in the Sustainable Community Development Initiative.

Monday will begin with a focus on trash. Tuesday will focus on transportation and feature a bicycle maintenance workshop. Wednesday will see a showcase of sustainable foods with a farmer’s market in the Kirkhof Center lobby.

Thursday’s emphasis is on energy, and water is the priority on Friday.

Peter Wampler, associate professor of geology at GVSU, will take students and faculty on a “ravine romp” and will also speak about storm water runoff. A service day on Saturday will give students and faculty an opportunity to volunteer together in the Grand Rapids community.

CSW wraps up with the Eco-Sabbath on Sunday. There will be hiking, yoga, meditation and sustainable snacks to wind down with after a full week of events.

CSW is not meant to simply create awareness for one week, though,” Jordan said.

There have been sustainability efforts all semester leading up to CSW. At recent home football games, the Student Environmental Coalition has been picking up and recycling pizza boxes and plastic bottles to promote a more sustainable community.

Students are encouraged throughout the week to join in by attending movie screenings, panel discussions and other events such as free trade fairs that will be around campus for sustainability awareness.

“I think oftentimes people think about recycling and reducing energy consumption, but there is so much more that can be done individually,” said Andrea Marz, office coordinator of the Sustainable Community Development Initiative.

Marz points to eating seasonally, locally, and whole plant-based foods to replace resource-intensive animal-based foods.

“We recommend minimizing consumption, donating and re-purposing items that would otherwise be recycled or thrown away,” Marz said.

To learn more about Campus Sustainability Week, visit

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