UConn, Sustainability and the Environment

Environmental GroupsAs a senior, I am constantly looking back at my undergraduate career here at the University of Connecticut. One of the most influential factors was my love for the environment. I had the privilege of being able to serve as the Academic Senator for the College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources in the Undergraduate Student Government (USG) here at UConn for the past three years. Along with being a CAHNR College Ambassador, I have always enjoyed interacting with members of my academic college, having the ability to represent my college in a variety of settings and advocating on behalf of my constituency in USG.

Being a representative of CAHNR in a senate body that had little idea or knowledge about the students that were in the college was one of the most interesting experiences I have had. CAHNR is stocked full of students that are environmentally friendly and go through their lives in a way to promote those ideas. CAHNR has majors such as Allied Health, Natural Resources, Resource Economics and Environmental Sciences. With those majors come coursework that emphasize the environment and the movement towards sustainability. Having majors in Resource Economics and Environmental Studies and representing an environmentally minded college lead to my involvement in USG being centered on environmental initiatives and sustainability.

We, as students here at UConn, are extremely fortunate to attend a large university that is devoted to being more environmentally friendly. Our administration has an Office of Environmental Policy (OEP) which is tasked with advancing environmental responsibility and sustainability. We have a large student group called EcoHusky which organizes projects and events with the OEP around campus. The ECOalition was just formed last year in order to bring the many environmentally related student groups together to collaborate with each other to have a larger impact on campus. USG has the Student Services Committee which is devoted to the improvement of student life on campus. Last semester, the Student Services Committee created the Sustainability Subcommittee in order to meet the demand for more USG initiatives in regards to the environment. Lastly, UConn has a ton of initiatives that promote sustainability like single stream recycling, the reclaimed water facility, the cogeneration plant and multiple Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certifications for buildings across campuses. UConn has been listed in the Sierra Club’s Top 10 America’s Greenest Universities consistently and is clearly committed to making this university more sustainable.

UConn Earth Day Spring Fling 2015
UConn Earth Day Spring Fling 2015

On April 19th, the Office of Environmental Policy and Dining Services will be celebrating Earth Day Spring Fling. This day is UConn’s celebration of the environment with many vendors, companies and student groups setting up booths to help promote environmentally friendly ideas. It will be held from 11:00am to 2:00pm on Fairfield Way so be sure to stop by!

If you are interested in joining the Undergraduate Student Government’s Student Services Committee, you can email studentservices@usg.uconn.edu in order to reach the Chairperson of the committee and discuss your interest and potential involvement.

If you are interested in joining a student group that is involved with the environment use the resource UConntact to find one that suits your interests. You can also email ecohusky@gmail.com or ecoalition.uconn@gmail.com for information or help on which group you should join.

I highly encourage you to get involved in an environmental group, not only for the experience because also the people who are a part of it will be some of the best people you meet.