Sustainability goes 'round and 'round
From cycling to recycling, there’s a word you keep hearing over and over at Southern Miss these days – green.
Call it an eco-echo. If it seems like every day is Earth Day, it’s because the campus community has worked hard to create a culture of sustainability.
Former University President Martha Saunders led the green movement, starting in 2008 by establishing an Office of Sustainability and signing Southern Miss’ Climate Action Plan as part of the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment. The goal is to be energy-neutral by 2050.
- Centennial Lawn in the heart of campus is a gathering spot for students.
- In spring 2010, the Princeton Review named Southern Miss one of 286 Green Colleges – and the only one in Mississippi – based on its commitment to sustainability.
- Former student Caroline Randolph recently founded the Mississippi Green Energy Initiative to educate campus and high school students about green energy and energy efficiency. For her work, she earned one of only 130 Udall Foundation Scholarships awarded each year.
- When it opened in fall 2010, the Century Park North residential complex was the first in the state to be certified by the U.S. Green Building Council for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. Century Park South, the school's second residential community to be LEED Certified, opened in spring 2015.
Programs include the following:
- A campus-wide Recyclethon that is part of the national RecycleMania competition among universities and colleges.
- A first-in-the-state EcoBike program in which students apply to borrow a bike for a semester and cycle instead of drive. The program has been in operation since 2008, and more than 50 bikes are available.
- EcoEagle Lug-a-Mug, a reusable plastic mug that students can use for discounted drink refills at four campus restaurants.
- No Impact Week, is a one-week carbon cleanse that allows participants to experience the difference that lowering their impact can have on their quality of life, their community, and their planet.
- Annual Earth Day celebrations that include service activities, films, lectures, an art exhibit, prizes and scholarships