Eureka College environmental group receives national sustainability honor

 

A Eureka College student organization was recognized for its work in sustainability at the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education’s (AASHE) 8th annual Conference & Expo at the Music City Center in Nashville, Tenn., Oct. 6-9.

The Eureka College Student Alliance for a Greener Environment (SAGE) was a finalist for the Student Sustainability Leadership Award.

“We are thrilled to have received this national recognition for our efforts,” said SAGE founding president Wendy Ferguson of Metamora, who graduated with a degree in environmental studies in May. “This shows how a small group of passionate and dedicated people can make a difference on their campus and in their community. I have no doubt this is just the start of the impact Eureka College and its students will have on the issue of sustainability.”

Ferguson, Eureka College graduate Brandon Klein of East Peoria and Eureka College assistant professor of environmental studies Dr. Renée Mullen attended the conference. They presented information about some of the group’s projects, including evaluating the effectiveness of the City of Eureka’s recycling program, surveying Eureka residents about their attitudes and behaviors around recycling and working with city administrators to increase the amount of items being recycled and to encourage a curbside recycling program.

“Although the data led to positive changes in the Eureka community, the most positive outcomes have been the partnership built between community members, the college and the students and the opportunity for students to learn and practice the skills necessary for catalyzing and maintaining suitability efforts within each of their own communities,” Ferguson said.

The winner in the Student Sustainability Leadership Award category was the University of Minnesota’s Next Generation Environmental Leaders group for helping to shape statewide sustainability policy. A second finalist for the award was the University of Oregon’s Team LiveMove.

Other award categories included the Student Research on Campus Sustainability Award and the Campus Sustainability Case Study Awards.

AASHE advances sustainability in higher education by creating a community engaged in sharing ideas and practices. It provides administrators, faculty, staff, students and the businesses that serve them with leadership and resources, opportunities for professional development and a framework for demonstrating the value and competitive edge created by sustainability initiatives. For more information, go to aashe.org.