By Ilana Williams
For The Diamondback
Though many clubs at the University of Maryland are meeting virtually or not at all due to the ongoing pandemic, some environmental organizations are using the online environment to encourage sustainability.
This semester, this university’s sustainability office has been holding a weekly lecture series, where guests speak about topics related to sustainability. These ongoing online lectures take place every Tuesday, with the next on Feb. 23.
“We’re hoping to help encourage things like civic engagement,” said Tanvi Gadhia, the university’s sustainability outreach coordinator.
Earlier this month, the sustainability office launched an interactive website that allows people to see data from different areas relating to the office’s missions and other topics such as food waste and transportation.
“We’re kind of moving in the direction of having more transparency and collecting more information and sharing more information with the campus community,” Gadhia said.
The website, called the Progress Hub, is a new resource for students who want to look at data and read stories about sustainability.
Green Terp, a student program at this university connected to the sustainability office, is using this time to raise awareness for environmental concerns, outreach intern Kayleigh Gallagher said.
Jessica Blake, a sophomore public policy major, is an ambassador for Green Terp’s waste committee, which devotes each month to a different sustainability element such as water or energy, creating social media posts and making the organization’s newsletter.
“As a college student, I’ve definitely seen how much waste is accumulated on campus,” Blake said. “One of the biggest issues that college campuses face, in terms of sustainability, is the amount of waste and not having proper ways to dispose of it.”
During this university’s winter break, GreenTerp posted lists of movies and series that show sustainability on its Instagram, Blake said.
“There’s so many different types of media on sustainability … but they’re not well-known,” Blake said.
Currently, Blake is participating in an initiative called the Campus Race to Zero Waste, which challenges colleges and universities across the nation to collect large volumes of recyclable material.
“I’m not expecting any of the campaigns that I do to stop climate change, but at least [they will] educate others and make them aware of small changes,” Blake said.
Lisa Alexander, the coordinator of sustainability programs for this university’s Department of Resident Life, co-coordinates the Green Terp program.
Alexander said the program advocates for students to incorporate sustainable habits into their everyday lives because sustainable living affects more than just the environment. It also affects economics.
“My goal is to educate as many students as I can about sustainability,” Alexander said. “Sustainability is about our lives and how we can live them to our fullest.”