CLU takes steps towards being a sustainable campus

“The principle of sustainability means providing an acceptable quality of life for present generations without that of future generations,” according to the “Caring for Creation” website on ELCA.org.

At California Lutheran University, sustainability is a campus-wide effort to create awareness and to establish practices that could have impacts on our environment.

According to callutheran.edu/sustainability, CLU Dining Services stopped using trays in the Dining Common in 2008. This has resulted in a reduction in food waste and water use in the Dining Commons.

Dining Services has adopted the use of recyclable and compostable to-go containers and utensils as well as implementing a new program called “Weigh The Waste”.

“Our ‘Weigh The Waste’ program promotes portion control and awareness of food waste,” said Katherine DeMetre, the student sustainability coordinator for Sodexo in an email.

“‘Weigh The Waste’ is a great project because it helps alert the students of how much food they waste. I do not humiliate anyone because of their food and do not make any judgments. We are human, but the project strives for people to be more aware of their leftovers,” DeMetre said.

“Weigh The Waste” also helps DeMetre notice what foods are commonly tossed so she can inform the chef for improvement.

Construction of the new Dining Commons will have environmentally friendly features, such as using natural ventilation and nighttime cooling.  The building will be LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified.

CLU has already made improvements around campus with the Swenson Center leading the way in environmental technology.  According to the Swenson building webpage, the building saves approximately 90,000 gallons of water per year by using dual-flush toilets, one-pint urinals, and low flow faucets.

In total, the building’s electricity usage is reduced by approximately 24% due to the use of higher efficiency heating units and building lighting controls.

In September of 2010, CLU established a garden as part of the SEEd Project (Sustainable Edible Education).  The garden gives students the opportunity to be directly involved with CLU’s sustainability efforts by donating money, tools or plants to be used in the garden, according to CLU’s sustainability website.

While CLU has environmentally friendly features on campus, “there’s still more to be done,” said Chris Vilter, a senior at CLU.  “On campuses like UC Davis, they have things like compost stations.  These stations are set up all over campus next to other trash and recycle bins.  CLU should have a third trash can for food and food-soiled paper because it can be composted rather than being sent to landfills,” Vilter said.

 

Zachary Kaija
Staff Writer
Published Nov. 6, 2013