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Students help shape campus sustainability efforts

Junior Jessica Morton, an electrical engineering major, is an active voting member of the University of Denver Sustainability Council. She started the outdoor recycling program her freshman year.


Q: What is the Sustainability Council? 

A: The Sustainability Council is a group of faculty, staff and students who are dedicated to improving sustainability efforts all over campus. We make motions to persuade the administration to increase sustainability. Most of our work is done in committees. Council committees have started the Green Office certification and Furniture Sharing programs at DU. Also, we have improved composting, indoor and outdoor recycling, bicycle infrastructure, and sustainable food packaging in the dining halls.


Q: How can students get involved?

A: To get directly involved in helping the environment, students can volunteer for Zero Waste hockey games. When you volunteer to be a “Zero Waste Goalie,” you’re able to go to the hockey game for free, are given a free meal, and educate others about what to compost, recycle and landfill. If you volunteer two or three times, you’ll get a free T-shirt, too. Also, students can become educated about recycling and composting to avoid contamination. If maintenance sees contamination in the bag, they are required to throw it into the landfill. When in doubt, throw it out! Students can also attend a Sustainability Council meeting (visit for information) or a DUET meeting (DU Environmental Team, an on-campus grass roots organization that meets at 7 p.m. Wednesdays in the Driscoll Commerce Room) to get involved in something they’re passionate about.


Q: The council motioned on Nov. 1 to add an electric vehicle (EV) charging station on campus. What is your hope for that initiative?

A: We hope to encourage faculty, staff and students to use electric vehicles as their mode of transportation rather than gasoline cars. This is a step to provide the infrastructure for electric vehicles, which will become more prevalent in the next decade. Currently, it’s estimated that there are 10 electric vehicles driven to campus daily, and the station will allow them to charge while on campus. Also, we hope that the station will attract EV drivers on I-25 to visit campus if they need to charge their cars.


Q: How does the University of Denver compare to other universities in terms of a sustainable campus?

A: DU is making great headway just as other universities are around the country. We’ll always have more work to do, but we’re working hard and making great strides.


Q: Do you have any easy tips for becoming more environmentally friendly? 

A: 1. Compost and recycle correctly. Pay attention to signs above recycling and composting bins, and when in doubt, throw it out.

2. Use reusable water bottles and mugs instead of single-use cups.

3. Bring reusable bags to the grocery store. [At many places], if you bring your own reusable mugs or tumblers and bags, you’ll get a discount on your drinks and groceries.


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