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University of St. Thomas students participated in the Office of Sustainability Initiatives’ Winter Scavenger Hunt despite the cold temperatures on Thursday, Feb. 16.
The event started at the John Roach Center Greenhouse, led to Frey Hall, wrapped around Brady Education Center, and concluded at Owens Science Hall with cookies and prizes. Student Sustainability Leader Elyse Zeswitz, who helped put on the event, said that its purpose was to highlight sustainability initiatives in winter.
“Sometimes people don’t know what’s going on on campus in the winter,” Zeswitz said. She said she hopes students will learn “tips and tricks about what they can do to be more sustainable.”
Zeswitz said it was the first Winter Scavenger Hunt hosted by OSI, which promotes sustainability on campus through educational and curricular activities.
According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, the average person produces about 4.9 pounds of garbage per day. OSI hopes to educate St. Thomas students on ways to be more sustainable and reduce that amount through events like the Winter Scavenger Hunt.
The event informed students about different winter-themed environmental topics. At the JRC Greenhouse, students learned about the Gasteria plant, a succulent that blooms in winter. Later, students were reminded of sustainable practices in place on campus already, such as how students can save 25 cents on beverages at The Loft when they bring a reusable cup.
Ariana Porcello, a program assistant for OSI, said that students can be more involved in sustainability issues on campus beyond attending events.
“The Sustainability Coalition in Student Government does a lot of informational meetings. You can go there and be part of a bigger campus initiative,” Porcello said.
Meeting topics range from sustainability to academics and waste reduction, according to Porcello. There is also Sustainability Club, Engineers for a Sustainable World and Biology Club that students can get involved in.
Porcello added that the Office of Sustainability will likely be posting jobs for Student Sustainability Leaders for fall 2023 in late spring or early summer.
Student Sustainability Leaders, such as Elyse Zeswiz, help connect the student body with sustainability efforts on campus. In addition to supporting the larger goals of OSI, Student Sustainability Leaders also pursue specific projects, like food waste management.
“The purpose is education,” Zeswitz said. “Getting students to engage with what sustainability means, and having them become more comfortable with the easy things you can do.”
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