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.
University President Martha Saunders has 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 new 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.
- 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 opens in fall 2010, the Century Park residential complex will be the first in the state to be certified by the U.S. Green Building Council for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.
Programs include the following:
- A campus-wide Recyclethon that is part of the national RecycleMania competition among universities and colleges. More than 137,000 pounds of materials were recycled. Recylethon prizes included an iPhone, Xboxes and Eagle Dining memberships.
- A first-in-the-state EcoBike program in which students apply to borrow a bike for a semester and cycle instead of drive. Up to 40 bikes are available, with plans to increase that number to 75
- EcoEagle Lug-a-Mug, a reusable plastic mug that students can use for discounted drink refills at four campus restaurants
- EcoEagle Farm, a university-community agriculture program to grow and promote low-cost organic food. Eagle Dining uses produce, honey, eggs and chickens for the Fresh Food Company’s health-conscious Smart Line.
- EcoEagle Film and Lecture Series, which brings informative documentaries and speakers to discuss environmental issues
- Annual Earth Day celebrations that include service activities, films, lectures, an art exhibit, prizes and scholarships