One small step for sustainability, one giant step for Spring Fling

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Tom Price and Tom Price | The Daily Wildcat Sarah Bertram, a sophomore studying physiology and molecular and cellular biology, and Lia Ossanna, an environmental science freshman, collect trash and recycling on Sunday, April 10. Students for Sustainability worked to reduce waste during this year's Spring Fling.

Students for Sustainability and the Office of Sustainability had high hopes for sustainability efforts at Spring Fling last weekend. Thanks to funding from the UA Green Fund, the Spring Fling organizers and sustainability groups on campus were able to ramp up their sustainability efforts.

The majority of this year’s efforts were focused on collaboration, coordination and education. The event’s committee coordinated with the Office of Sustainability as well as Compost Cats, Greening the Game, UA Green Team, Green Purchasing Team, UA Community Garden, UA Cycling Club and Students for Sustainability, along with UA Facilities Management.

“This year, Spring Fling organizers took sustainability initiatives to a higher level,” said Julia Rudnick, coordinator of campus sustainability programs, and Ben Champion, the director for the UA Office of Sustainability. “They were very strategic in this placement as sustainability is a part of doing business at Spring Fling, not a one-year project.”

UA Green Fund granted funding to four major projects.

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Students for Sustainability’s community garden committee ran a succulent station booth to educate attendees about sustainable gardening and composting.

“The succulent garden is also a great way to engage families because they can learn about urban gardening—especially in the desert—and also take home a plant,” said Samantha Springs, Students for Sustainability undergraduate co-director.

Compost Cats and Students for Sustainability’s Greening the Game focused on waste diversion. The two groups co-managed green stations to ensure compost, recycling and landfill items were effectively separated.

There was also a bike valet run by the UA Cycling Club.

“This year, the Green Fund has dedicated $6,000 to our waste diversion efforts, a bike valet and a succulent garden,” Springs said. “Our hope is to promote more sustainable practices in people’s daily lives when they see how to recycle and compost properly as well as to introduce new things like other forms of transportation, such as biking.”

Spring Fling also implemented other sustainable initiatives. It mandated that everything student clubs used were compostable or recyclable this year. Two water bottle refill stations were also used.

“This will allow Spring Fling employees, staff and student clubs to use refillable water bottles, which should result in less disposable water bottle use,” Rudnick and Champion said.

The final highlight of the sustainability effort was the incorporation of grease recycling from vendors. Grecycle collected the used grease to transform it into biodiesel.

With the combination of all these efforts, the groups hoped to see waste diversion rates higher than those of last year, and see members of the community get excited and educated about sustainability.

“In terms of UA Spring Fling, this event [showcased the] environmental best practices for UA,” Rudnick said. “Sustainability at Spring Fling serves to give large numbers of students and the broader community exposure to zero waste and other sustainability-oriented efforts.”

With the significant manpower and funding behind sustainability, this year’s Spring Fling was greener than ever. 


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