Environmental Heroes

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The Center for a Sustainable Society making a more eco friendly community one step at a time

   Did you know that about four billion Starbucks cups are wasted each year? Or that around 2,000 articles of clothing are thrown away every second in the U.S. alone? 

   Fortunately, the Center for a Sustainable Society (CSS) is dedicated to reducing wastefulness and promoting environmentally friendly practices on campus. From recycling Halloween decorations to repurposing Starbucks coffee cups into flower pots, CSS is continuously proving that practicing sustainability can be easier than one might think, not to mention fun and decorative.

   CSS has several exciting upcoming projects for this year, including the Finders Keepers Free Stuff Store, which is open throughout the school year and provides students with dorm room decorations, clothes, school supplies, and other commodities through donations to the store. Along with the store itself are Finders Keepers “Pop Up” stores, where items are donated and given away in other locations, such as the UC patio. Just next week, once Halloween festivities are complete, the Finders Keepers Pop Up store will be taking donations for decorations, costumes, and more items starting on November 1st at the Halloween Give and Go event. These donations will be taken to the Free Stuff Store to be reused or repurposed for next year’s Halloween. 

   Along with the various giveaways that CSS puts on for Pacific students, the group also advocates for issues pertaining to reproductive rights and composting, to name a few. The center organizes several projects relating to these issues in hopes of increasing awareness among Pacific students and, ultimately, improving the environment at Pacific. 

   For instance, the composting team at CSS has provided the campus dorms with compost bins to encourage students to incorporate greener practices into their daily lives. The Reproductive Justice Action Team holds informative exhibits and activities for students concerning reproductive justice issues, and even has a plan in the works for a project involving upcycling expired condoms into a work of art.

   Interim Director Ramona Ilea has been working at Pacific for about 18 years and has supervised numerous student civic engagement projects here. “This is one of my big passions,” Ilea professed. “Advising student projects and helping students take initiative and make a difference in their community.” 

   “I think it’s really helpful for the students to be able to combine and connect their academics with practical experiences,” Ilea explained. “That is super important for their development as people but also in the future on the job market.” 

   With a total of 19 students working for the center, Ilea sees how each student feels very passionate about making a difference in their community.

   “I think students generally feel very passionate about climate change and sustainability.” Ilea remarked. “They really want to make a difference, and they have all sorts of really cool ideas and a lot of initiative.” — Grace Holmes


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