It’s easy being green at Santa Fe College

In our currently modern, fast paced and convenient world, it is often hard to forget about living a sustainable lifestyle. According to the EPA, individuals in the United States, on average, consume about 4.43 pounds of waste a day, and the average American home only recycles 34% of their yearly wastes. With such grim statistics regarding sustainable living for individual homes, is there much hope for large institutions such as colleges and universities?

Students, faculty and staff help keep SF sustainable at waste audit day.

Enter Barbara Little-Harsh, chair of the sustainability committee at Santa Fe College. Little-Harsh has made it her personal mission to ensure that Santa Fe College moves rapidly in the direction of a sustainable and green campus.

The sustainability committee is composed of staff, faculty and students, and meets once a month to discuss innovative ideas and suggestions regarding how to make campus more sustainable.

“The goal is to get all of the campus involved through fun events and projects that promote sustainable living,” said Little-Harsh.

SF's Students with Disabilities UPcycle soda tabs and bottle caps into pins and bracelets.

In the fall, SF hosted a Waste Audit Day, an event in which students helped sort through trash from around the campus to see exactly what people were throwing away. Students were then encouraged to create “trashy art” from the found items that were then displayed in the Art gallery.

In the spring, the committee will offer a free series of movie that will showcase the importance of sustainability and present easy solutions to currently unsustainable practices.

“It’s a great way to present current issues through a form of media that appeals to everyone,” said Little-Harsh.

The sustainability committee encourages organizations, such the Organic Gardeners and Student Government, to branch out and involve as many students on campus as possible. The Organic Gardeners is an organization here at SF that plants and maintains a yearly garden of fruits and vegetables behind Building P.

“It is a great way for students to learn about eating local,” said Little-Harsh.

Students work in the organic garden, located near Building E on the Northwest Campus.

Student Government has also made great strides in helping SF become more sustainable. They recently passed two resolutions, one to get rid of all Styrofoam on campus, and the other to allow Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs on campus.

“This is huge,” said Student body President Daniel Freed. “It is so nice to see so many students wanting to get involved and doing their part to help the environment.”

Student Government recently added a sustainability representative, Aadil Muhammed, who will work directly with Barbara Little-Harsh and represent the voice of the students. Aadil has some initiatives of his own, such as placing more recycling bins around campus, and replacing the paper towels in bathrooms with electronic dryers.

“Let’s be honest.” said Aadil. “As a planet we need to be more sustainable. We only have one planet, one ocean, and one environment. It’s time we start taking better care of it because if we don’t, who knows where we will be in ten years.”

To contact Student Government, click here.

For more statistics from the EPA, click here.

For more information about the Sustainability Committee click here or contact Barbara Little-Harsh at 352-381-3850 or Barbara.little-harsh@sfcollege.edu.