Being the environmentalist that I am and having a true compassion for the wellbeing of our planet my concern grows daily for its welfare. However while so much of the world chooses to ignore the warning signs of our planet’s despair and danger, I found comfort in knowing of one place that listens to the signs: USF. Being a transfer student, this semester I became aware right away of not only how green the campus is, but how much advertising and effort is put into educating the student body about being green.
Initially the eating areas on campus are what first got me realizing that the campus shows tremendous efforts to be environmentally friendly. When I first walked into Market Café, main campus’ primary eating area for students, I noted all of the options for vegetarians and vegans. From four different types of fair trade organic coffee to choose from, to the variety of Honest Tea drinks shelved in the freezer section the café gives students a variety of healthy and organic items to select from. However the dining hall doesn’t just limit students to organic drinks, they take the healthy selections to the food as well. I find solace is seeing fresh pizzas, salads, fruits, and vegetables all available for selection as well as a specific section for vegans and vegetarians. When I went to grab silverware and dishware, I recognized the labels “EcoProducts” and “Greenware.”
Market Café’s efforts to be environmentally friendly don’t just stop at the kitchen. I eyed over four different disposable bins including compost, trash, and recycling as well as informational posters above the varying bins. USF not only wants students to dispose of their waste in the appropriate corresponding bins, they want us to be knowledgeable of the difference between the bins as well. The campus realizes that it’s not only about getting students to keep our environment clean, but also reaching a level of understanding about why this is important.
I was even more ecstatic when I found out that USF offers additional healthy eating areas besides Market Café. I found that Outta Here is an ideal store that shows their concern for the environment by offering students organic foods and environmentally safe products including toiletries and bathroom products. It was comforting to see strewn across their wall slogans like “local” and “sustainable”.
Going beyond the campus’s eating areas I have found that USF takes being environmentally friendly into the academic halls, classrooms, and living spaces. My eyes have fallen upon countless trash, recycling, and compost cans everywhere that I venture. In Cowell and Kalmonovitz Hall, two of the places where I attend classes, I have noticed both trash and recycle bins. Outside of my environmental science classroom every morning I see the familiar trash and recycle bins stationed by the door reminding and inviting students to dispose appropriately of their garbage. Additionally Lone Mountain, the residence hall that I belong to has its own “Recycle Room” where students are encouraged to discard all of their recyclables.
Since first stepping on to USF’s campus I have realized that USF is doing what all of us need to do; think about the environment first and our wants and needs second. Through the campus’s actions they show a reflection of a campus who takes pride in its facilities and the rest of the environment. While walking around the campus one constant thought keeps coming to mind. Like USF our duty to the environment goes beyond our actions and lifestyles. We not only need to tell people that it is important to be environmentally sustainable. We are responsible for being guides and reaching out to others by demonstrating all that it means to maintain a clean environment. Demonstrate what it means to be environmentally friendly and others will follow.