Business students to promote sustainability

Patty Vaughan

The Business Honors Program will host Sustainability Day on Wednesday to inform students about a more resourceful living strategy.

The Business Honors Program requires juniors to take on on and work with a non-profit project. Two teams of juniors who had been working on individual projects came together to host Sustainability Day.

Kristin Sutton, a team leader of one of the groups and a junior majoring in accounting, said Sustainability Day is about sending information to everyone.

“The main point of this day is to make the campus aware of what sustainability is, how the University is becoming more sustainable in reducing our footprint and to encourage students to become involved,” Sutton said. “Sustainability, in the general terms, is providing for ourselves now without limiting the resources of the people in the future.”

Brad Lee, the other team leader and a junior majoring in business management and theater, said, he really wants to make students more knowledgeable about being sustainable.

“It’s been an info gathering year. Sustainability Day is about the dispersing of information,” Lee said.

The idea of a UA sustainability day started when Barry Mason, the dean of the business school went to Jim Cashman, a professor of management, and discussed the fact that all SEC schools, except for two, including the University, had a sustainability day.

The two teams decided to speak with grounds, facilities and directors from Bama Dining, Crimson Copies and Bama Printing to know where there were needs.

“A lot of them already had programs in place. They have so many opportunities for students to recycle everything from paper, plastic to their printers or their computers,” Sutton said. “Our main goal was that it would be easiest for us to help them market what they want do with the students.”

Because it is the first Sustainability Day, the teams had to start small.

“People should look for yard signs on campus,” Sutton said. “One will say ‘Last year the University recycled the weight of 193 elephants.’ They’re just fun facts for people to see that the University is doing a lot.”

Another fact that the teams are presenting to students is that they have been working closely with Bama Dining to promote reusable mugs.

“You can take it to any Bama Dining location, and it’s a 55 cent refill,” Sutton said. “It’s a $9 mug, but they’re reducing it to $6 at all Bama Dining locations for Sustainability Day.”

Along with reusable mugs, Bama Dining is continuing a program to reuse to-go boxes. Sutton said the first to-go box will be free for anyone. The student can then fill up the box, take it home and then bring it back to any Bama Dining location. Bama Dining will then wash the box and reuse it rather than throwing it away.

“We’re working with Bama Dining to really jumpstart that program to get people involved, because the University goes through 17,000 of those Styrofoam clamshells a week,” Sutton said. “At every Bama Dining location on campus, we’re going to have a set-up showing how much people can save.”

Lee’s team has been working specifically with laptops and helping teachers see that having a laptop in a classroom is not only better for students, but better for the environment.

Lee said that by allowing students to have access to a laptop, they will be able to access the Internet if something confused them in class, and they can type their notes instead of writing.

“Now you can download your notes and have them on your computer so that way you don’t have to waste all of that paper or the cost of printing,” Lee said. “That opens a door for such a better life for students.”

As well as displays and signs, the teams will be setting up tables in the Ferguson Center and giving away T-Shirts that read “Greener Way for UA.” There will also be a table for Crimson Copies for recycling ink cartridges and promoting double-sided printing in Manly Hall.

“When people think of going green, they don’t necessarily think of the business school,” Sutton said. “A lot more people have the idea of ‘tree hugger’, which is great in some areas, but at the same time, sustainability is not just for one type of person.”

[Editor’s note: The original version of this article said that Sustainability would be held Tuesday. The event is taking place on Wednesday. The article has been corrected to reflect these changes.]