Students, faculty aim for DSU to be beacon of sustainability

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Spearheaded by the Dixie State University Sustainability Club, DSU has moved toward more sustainable practices like recycling over the past few years.

Sustainability is the endurance of systems and processes, or the use of natural resources, in such a way they are preserved for future generations.

The sustainability initiative, which was founded with the aim of promoting and advocating for sustainability through the DSU campus and community, eventually evolved into the Sustainability Club. Its primary goals include increasing sustainable initiatives, like replacing dining services’ Styrofoam containers with biodegradable containers, educating people on the importance of sustainability, and how they can use Earth’s resources more responsibly.

Cameron Carlson, the president of the Sustainability Club and a senior integrated studies major from Bountiful, said it is important to maintain a balance between our lives and the environment around us.

“Every aspect of our lives utilizes resources from the earth,” Carlson said. “Humans have a great impact and as a university, focusing on reducing our impact, can help future generations with the effects of climate change.”

There is much work to be done, Carlson said. From water conservation and waste reduction to energy efficiency, placing more recycling bins is just the beginning. He also has ideas about a potential bike initiative involving adding bike share stations and bike repair facilities on campus, a community garden that would use composted food waste, and developing a sustainability department on campus to oversee these items and more in the future.

There are approximately 7.5 billion people on Earth. We can all make an impact as individuals, said Marshall Topham, an adjunct of environmental science. If we bond together with the institution, we can make an even bigger impact, he said.

“Dixie could be the poster child for sustainability,” Topham said. “We have this [partnership] with Legend Solar, so we’re moving toward more and more power generated that way. It’s very important that any educational institution would teach the principles of sustainability.”

Topham said there are two main “enemies” of sustainability: overpopulation and consumerism.

Consumerism habits, such as how people purchase clothes and technology, are very resource intensive, Carlson said, but it’s the lifestyle most people used to. 

“It’ll be a wake up call to Americans and people of other developed countries when the effects of climate change start impacting their lives,” he said. “We have such demanding lives that it’s easy to go with the most convenient [route]. But sustainability is important because it’s securing…the resources for our future generations and balancing human lives and the ecosystem.”

Carlson encourages people to adopt sustainable practices like walking or riding a bike to school, only running full loads of laundry, turning off the sprinklers when they’re unnecessary, or even avoiding grass and utilizing natural desert landscaping.

In some cases, sustainable practices may even save people money, said Mercedes Maynard, vice president of the Sustainability Club and a sophomore mechanical engineering major from Omaha, Nebraska. Individuals can save money on gas if they ride a bike to their destinations, or reduce their water bill by taking shorter showers.

“I think a lot about the future, and I would like to have a positive impact on it,” Maynard said. “I know being sustainable is a big part of that, so I’d like to push for a more sustainable future and try to educate my peers so they will hopefully try for a that too.”