The University’s Office of Sustainability will launch three campaigns to involve employees, students and the public in making Clemson a more sustainable campus and community, Friday, Feb. 12.
Beginning at 2 p.m. in the Carillon Garden, there will be light refreshments served in a socially distanced environment. At 2:30, Dave VanDeventer, Clemson’s solid waste and recycling manager; sustainability coordinator Marcus Curry; students; and others will speak about the campaigns and sustainability at Clemson. The event will be streamed online.
Curry will share details of the three campaigns:
- The Erase Waste Campaign, which is aimed at reducing single-use plastics and food waste. The plan is to educate the campus about alternatives to plastics, such as reusable grocery bags, and reducing food waste through composting and more.
- Adopt a Spot, an anti-litter campaign challenging individuals and organizations to choose a place in the community and pledge to clean it up each month. It is a partnership with Palmetto Pride and the Grab a Bag South Carolina litter campaign.
- Plant Your Feet is a challenge to individuals and organizations to pledge to walk or run between now and April 1, record the miles covered and submit them online. The Sustainability Office will compile them to calculate a number of trees to be planted on campus, in the Botanical Garden and Experimental Forest. The campaign is a partnership with Duke Energy and Trees Upstate. An entry form is posted online.
Curry said the all-volunteer office was created last year in conjunction with Recycling Services under the umbrella of the Sustainability Commission, whose faculty, staff and student members coordinate the University’s sustainability efforts.
He added the Sustainability Commission has made significant progress despite the fact its members are faculty, staff and students with other full-time obligations.
Various divisions and organizations in Clemson have made sustainability commitments, such as University Housing & Dining. Curry’s office plans to promote these partnerships about the University’s sustainable programs.
The office has established a Sustainability Fund and is reaching out to area industries, banks, organizations and alumni whose businesses support sustainable causes for donations. He said the plan is for students, faculty, staff, community members and organizations to be able to submit proposals for sustainable initiatives and apply for funding.
A key element of proposals is education.
“What we’re learning right now is Clemson University has a really good adaptation rate,” he said. “Once you put something out there and educate about it and you show opportunity, students, faculty and staff don’t mind adapting to it. However, if there isn’t any education about it or as long as there is a gap, nothing gets done.”
Curry, who played baseball for Clemson from 2009 to 2013, has returned to Clemson to complete his Packaging Science degree after he left to engage with minor league baseball programs.
He and his team of student volunteers – Justice Jay, Sidney Schliesman, Courtney Kittel and Tahj Anderson – are working with the Sustainability Commission to update the University Sustainability Plan, which was written in 2010.
“I think the ultimate goal for Clemson University is to really be the standard in sustainability like we are in everything else,” Curry said. “We hold top 25 in regard to academics, in regard to athletics, in regard to leadership, being social and engagement. I really think we should be committed to sustainability as well as being thought leaders in that space.
“We should really lead the way in sustainability.”
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