Updated as of Oct. 4, 2021 at 10:55 p.m. to include video.
Elon University's annual fall campus Sustainability Week, held every October, begins today and features events hosted Monday through Friday across campus to celebrate the university's current practices and examine sustainable habits, specifically as the habits relate to energy use.
Office of Sustainability intern Lauren Hill said the purpose of this week's events is to further the office of sustainability's overall goal of inspiring positive change in the Elon community.
“I think that the best kind of possible outcome is just to spread awareness and again to spark that interest in someone else,” Hill said.
Hill hopes this week's events challenge students to think deeper about sustainability, beyond the basic ideas of recycling and not littering as well as further the education and awareness around living a lifestyle that is conscious of the environmental future.
“Sustainability is really about these three pillars. It’s people, prosperity and the planet,” Hill said. “It’s about how we can protect social structures for people and environment structures and general wealth from a business standpoint, and how all of those aspects are going to be sustainable for future generations.”
Similar to other students at Elon, Hill did not know much about the global environmental problems before coming to college. She said her journey with environmental justice and the Office of Sustainability began after learning about factoring farming in her Bio 101 class freshman year when she decided to become vegetarian.
Hill is looking forward to the keynote speaker Danielle Purifoy this week who will be discussing “The Long Fight for Environmental Justice in North Carolina” and hopes it will impact students who want to learn more about social and economic environmental issues.
Elon University Office of Sustainability Intern and Eco-Rep coordinator Samantha Schwamberger said she is excited to share her passion for sustainability and the environment with others.
“I love the planet and I want future generations to be able to enjoy the same things that I enjoy,” Schwamberger said. “That is why I love Campus Sustainability Week because it talks about all of the different ways that we can make sure that happens.”
The campus sustainability week events at Loy farm will be focusing on taking care of one's mind and body. There will be a 90 minute mindful Eco-Grief discussion about how to deal with feelings of stress and anxiety created by current environmental issues. There will also be a mindful eating event where students will harvest vegetables and learn to cook a meal that fuels their bodies with healthy foods, and the effect their diet has on the planet.
Students who attend the events this week will have a chance to win Phoenix Cash, hammocks, and sustainability t-shirts in a competition sponsored by the Office of Sustainability. To enter students must complete a Microsoft forms survey, and for a chance to gain additional entries students can share the survey with their friends.
Schwamberger said she hopes the events this week inspire students to not only take care of the planet, but also themselves.
“When it comes to working and school, it’s really important that you are implementing sustainable practices,” Schwamberger said. “Not just thinking about the environment, but thinking about your own health and wellbeing as well.”