Sustainability Week brought fall fun to Ursinus

Photograph Courtesy of Robert Varney

Johnny Myers

jomyers@ursinus.edu

     This year, Sustainability Week focused on the BikeShare program, revamped after a vacancy last year, as well as other new events and programs within the department. It was a week-long awareness event that encouraged students to learn more about environmental sustainability on campus and in their personal lives. This is an annual event. Each fall, Sustainability Week kicks off the academic year with a celebration of sustainability and environmental consciousness.

     Sustainability Week this year started on Oct. 3 with “Transportation Tuesday,” where students could learn more about the BikeShare program. The program allows students to rent bikes any time during the day for a one-time $10 fee, usually paid at the beginning of the year, after which they are free to rent bikes as often as they please.

     Events in previous years have included “Power It Down,” a program encouraging students to watch their electricity consumption; “Community Bike Ride,” an event where students can ride across Collegeville; and “Tree Planting,” an event where students helped plant trees at a local park.

     Daniel Berger, a senior, is the head of the BikeShare program on campus. He discussed “Transportation Tuesday.”

     “[We talked] about the bike share and car share programs on campus. A lot of people don’t know that we exist, and [we gave] people the opportunity to learn more about the programs, and to sign up for both online. We want people to know that they can ride a bike here and drive a car here,” Berger said.

     According to Berger, he joined the BikeShare program because of his love of bike maintenance and to join the avid community of Ursinus bicyclists.

     “I mostly wanted to work on bikes. I joined specifically to be in the BikeShare program part of [the Office of] Sustainability. I wanted to work on bikes and meet people who are interested in biking. I wanted to learn and wanted to spread the knowledge of riding bikes and being able to fix your own stuff.”

     Berger has high optimism for the future of Sustainability, and has a good plan for what’s to come.

     Said Berger, “We definitely want a more prominent presence on campus. We want a sign that says, ‘This rack of bikes is the BikeShare. Here’s how you sign up, and here are the rules,’ which directs people to the Office of Sustainability. We have the bikes, and we have the shop to work on them. We want the presence that tells people about the bikes.”

     Kate Keppen, head of Sustainability, is excited for the new year. “There’s something everyday that I’m excited for,” she said, describing the sustainability options on campus.

     “[We tried] a lot of things, like tabling events in Lower Wismer. [We] also [tried] something we’ve never tried before, which is ‘Pinterest Night.’ A lot of students don’t have recycling bins in their room, so to address that issue [we took] old recycled boxes that have already been used and [reused] them and [decorated] them with recycled material. In there, students can put metal, plastics, and paper and recycle them. ‘Harvest Fest’ is another fun, low-key annual event on campus. [We had] pumpkin carving, and [we had] an observation hive with our beekeeper. It’s just about coming out and having some fun.”

     Other events this year included “Pledge to Make a Difference Monday” and “Give a Kahoot! Green Trivia Challenge” on Thursday. While these events only lasted from Oct. 2 to Oct. 7, Sustainability will be hosting the occasional event for students in the future.

     Keppen also sees a number of changes coming to Sustainability due to structural reorganization. According to Keppen, this year the Office finally has a “fully-staffed fellows program.” 

     She said, “Last year, we were running at half a year. This year, we have a full year to really dive deep and get some good programing available to the student[s].”

     If you’re interested in Sustainability Fellows, Kate Keppen will be hosting some open houses on the Organic Farm Fellows. “Even if students are just interested in farming, bikeshare, or recycling, contact me and we’ll get you in the loop,” she said.

     You can learn more about Sustainability Fellows by emailing Kate Keppen at kkeppen@ursinus.edu, and BikeShare by emailing Daniel Berger at daberger@ursinus.edu.