The University celebrated Campus Sustainability Day for the first time Oct. 23. Campus Sustainability Day is an initiative started by the The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education.
The goal of Campus Sustainability Day was to raise awareness about sustainability in general as well as facilitate opportunities for students wishing to learn more about sustainability practices and initiatives. Participants learned the logistics of what sustainability is as well as current University efforts towards building a more sustainability-friendly campus. Some students were even given information about career paths and class options for those interested in studying sustainability.
The day commenced with a “Basic 101 on Sustainability,” described Liesel Schwarz, University sustainability manager. In the afternoon, eight University professors from the College Arts and Sciences, the College of Engineering, School of Business and College of Nursing spoke to students about their options to study sustainability at the university undergraduate level as well as current research opportunities for students in the field of sustainability.
Campus Sustainability Day also included tours from students involved in the President’s Environmental Sustainability Day, who showed students the campus’ sustainable features, such as the hydration stations and arboretum. In 1990, the University became a designated arboretum, hosting approximately 1,500 trees across 250 species. Additionally, the University strives to build “green buildings” and two green roofs have been installed in recent years. As a result, the University has been named one of Princeton Review’s 322 “Green Colleges” across the United States.
The final event of the day was a presentation of “Sustainable Careers” by five alumni panelists. The alums encouraged students to not worry if they didn’t have a specific career or field in mind.
“When I was at Villanova, I was really interested in helping people in a broad and general way,” said alumni Adam Agalloco.
His career path led him to work at a design build engineering firm, where he realized he “missed the idea of helping people and found more interest in sustainability through sustainable design and green energy.”
Ultimately, he landed a job in the Philadelphia Mayor’s office, where he works on city operations and finding opportunities for the city to save money and conserve energy.
In terms of future sustainability efforts the University would like to pursue, Schwarz, who is new to Villanova this year, has big plans up her sleeves. Currently, she is working with student government on implementing a food donation program, so that leftover food from the dining halls can be recycled or donated to those in need.
Additionally, a University-sponsored sustainability website will launch in the next month to keep the student body updated and informed on the latest sustainability initiatives, and Schwarz will continue to reach out to students, athletes and groups on campus to see how sustainability can be incorporated into their activities. Some examples Schwarz gave include implementing a bike share program and encouraging athletes to wearing cotton t-shirts which are environmentally friendly during sports games.