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SIUC Celebrates Enviroment And Sustanability During This Year's Earth Month


May might be around the corner, but SIU Carbondale continues to have events this April celebrating Earth Month and encouraging sustainability.

SIU-C's Sustainability Program Coordinator Karen Schauwecker says community organizations on campus and across Carbondale contributed to this year's Earth Month's calendar.

"We have a variety of activites from planting trees on campus to sustainable craft shop activites to help you lead a more sustainable lifestyle," Schauwecker says.

An event Schauwecker says she is personally excited for is called the "Lights Out Event."

She says volunteers can meet at the Sustainability Hub in the Student Center at 5:30 on Friday, April 19. In small groups, people will walk through campus and turn off unused lights for the weekend in efforts to conserve energy. She says every light that is turned off will be recorded as such.

The event is modeled after a program belonging to University of Illinois.

"What U of I has done is they've set up a way to calculate the overall impact - the energy savings and the monetary savings from turning off the lights," Schauwecker says. "U of I found having these events once a month for three years saved their university over $14,000 and they've avoided carbon dioxide emissions by 1.2 tons."

Students can also take their carbon footprint into their own hands by participating in the Drawdown Ecochallenge.

Schauwecker says Project Drawdown is a resource that has 100 solutions that already exist with ample potential to mitigate rising temperatures. The project has ranked refrigerant management, onshore wind turbines, and a plant-based diet as the top three actions people can take to reduce their carbon footprint.

The Drawdown Ecochallenge is a platform students can join by adding themseleves to the Saluki Green Action Team. On this platform students can commit to taking several actions throughout the week to lower their footprint. After several weeks, the platform collects the amount of committed actions people have made and then calculates the impact people have made by switching to more sustainable habits.

"It's meant to be fun but to also share information," Schauwecker says.

The Drawdown EcoChallenge ends on April 24.

Students can also see their green fee in action when they watch the Eco-Recreation installation on April 25 at 21:30 in the afternoon at the Becker Pavilion on Campus Lake, according to a university press release.

Students and faculty from engineering and zoology used research to figure out how to curb the growth of algae in Campus Lake to create three projects that will help keep the water clean and provides students with healthy outdoor recreation activites.

One installation will be a pedal-powered water pump hooked onto a stationary bike that will send water to a fountain when people pedal on the bike. On the water, there will be an obstacle course of solar-powered fountains and solar-powered buoys that will areate the water.

Schauwecker calls the installation a win-win for the campus.

Earth Month will end on April 30 with a Sustainability Celebration from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Morris Library. Campus members who contribute to campus sustainability behind the scenes will be recognized, as well as announcing Green Fund awards and Enviromental Ambassador awards, Schauwecker says.

"That's a really great day to see sustainability in action on campus," Schauwecker says.