Hannah Hollinger

Hannah Hollinger

Sustainability Progression via Student Advisory Committee

Students at the University of Central Florida have continually advocated for sustainability. In 2006, the results of surveying, focus groups, and one-on-one consultations presented what students cared most about: a just and sustainable future. A decade later, it is still evident – visually, ethically… culturally.

President Hitt embodied this back in February of 2007 when he pledged that UCF would become climate neutral by year 2050. This cannot be resolved overnight. Sustainability Initiatives seeks to create a space to share ideas in accomplishing environmental, economic and social sustainability. Through outreach, motivated students frequently come in contact who desire sustainable change at UCF. Some are looking for partnership, as such tasks can seem daunting for just one individual. Others are looking for direction, as the term “sustainability” is so broad that one does not know where to begin. Where do we go from here to foster this undertaking?

Sustainability Initiatives is excited to move forward in evolving a greater sustainability culture in each facet – environment, society, and economy – at the University of Central Florida. The Student Sustainability Advisory Committee (SSAC) is appointing student members for the 2016-17 academic year.

The committee shall serve as a connection to the student perspective in the values, educational material, policies, practices, and projects that strengthen the campus-wide commitment to sustainability. Areas of discussion will include sustainability in academics & engagement, buildings & land, energy, food & livability, transportation, waste, and water. The suggestions and feedback in these areas will be reported to the established Sustainability Advisory Committee comprised of Faculty and Administration.

As of late, the culture has only strengthened as climate change reaches the forefront of our global issues. Students have responded strongly in light of this seemingly overwhelming matter, such as participating in green initiatives, supporting the various speakers, and even concentrating their own interests to better the planet.

A walk around campus can paint a good picture of the student energy focused around sustainability. Student organizations pick up litter in the Arboretum to allow for a more enjoyable natural area – land. Students interested in on-site energy generation tour the Combined Heat and Power Plant – energy. Teams of students take a time out of their day to volunteer at the community garden – food. Off-campus students drop off their recycling at a collection station nearby – waste. Friends gather around the Student Union to prepare for a bicycling “night ride” – transportation. Students rent out a paddle board to enjoy the spring weather on Lake Claire – water. A culture of sustainability.

As the semesters come and go, students graduate, and focuses change, we hope the Student Sustainability Advisory Committee will allow for continuity. If you are interested in joining, members will be selected and appointed through an application process over the summer. Completed applications are due July 1, 2016.

Access here: http://sustainable.ucf.edu/SSAC