In its first sustainability week, Student Government gave out tote bags, potted plants and pumpkins, hosted a clothing drive and gave students information about sustainability through QR codes. 


Kenzie Richards, a junior psychology major from Granite City, Illinois, said she knew a lot of other organizations were doing things for mental health awareness week, so she wanted to do something new for students. She said one of the big sustainability issues is single-use plastic bags like the ones in the dining area, so they wanted to give out reusable bags. She said giving away microgreens or herbs is also a great way to maximize sustainability in a small way.  


“It limits going to the store and buying basil in a little plastic single use container and things like that,” Richards said. “And it's also nice to be able to do that. All of the pots that we have … they were donated by the garden and we just spray painted them, so people are going to be able to paint over them if they would like to. We are using recycled pots for that, which I think is great because otherwise they would have just been thrown away.” 


Richards said she wanted students to see that being sustainable doesn’t have to be expensive. She said by having a clothing drive to limit fast fashion waste and giving out herbs students can grow in their dorms, Student Government wanted to show students little things they can do, even if that just means going outside or respecting nature a little bit more.   


“A lot of times I feel like sustainable practices can be kind of classist in terms of there's a lot of things that you need to get to be sustainable and it's not always feasible budget-wise and financially for a bunch of college students to buy only reusable recycled materials all the time,” Richards said.  


Lucas Wolf, a junior studio art major from Evansville, Indiana, is the head of the Honors Student Association community garden committee. He said the Student Government reached out for help with sustainability week, and they mainly wanted people to be able to grow their own food.  


“We ended up choosing little pots of dirt … with some lavender seeds in them, and then we had people paint the pots and take them home just to learn how to grow herbs,” Wolf said.  


Wolf said HSA also sold pumpkins to raise money for a greenhouse in the Gardens so they can plant early in the fall and still keep the plants warm, as well as expand their growing.   


“One of the issues with gardening is over the summer with all the students gone, summer [is] the big produce [season]. So we plant stuff in the spring and then there's really only a couple students who can do that in the early fall and in the summer can only pick and take care of the garden,” Wolf said. “We really don't want to put that on two students [to] take care of the whole garden because it's a lot of work.” 


Ava Austin, a member of Alpha Phi Omega, helped pot the plants in preparation for the fundraiser. She said she thought sustainability week was a great idea.  


“Sustainability is a good thing to kind of like try and obtain, but it's really hard to do that as a college student, so I really liked how they were trying to get the word out there,” Austin said.  

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