Flagler Collect students and faculty celebrated sustainability during the 3rd Annual Love Your Planet Day this Monday in St. Augustine. Students gathered on the West Lawn to learn about the latest campus initiatives in sustainability, to meet more than 30 environmentally conscious vendors, to present skits on the Sustainability Soapbox and pledge to reduce their carbon footprint. The annual event is presented by the Flagler College Sustainability Committee.
“We’re seeing the community come together and work as a whole toward a very positive goal – sustainability,” said Kristine Warrenburg-Rome, Ph.D., Sustainability Committee Chair and Assistant Professor of Communication at Flagler. “Our goal is to educate students, faculty and staff about the importance of sustainable responsibility, reducing carbon footprint and biking/walking/scootering/carpooling to campus. All those things make a better community for everybody.”
Flagler senior Cassidie Corwin is the student event coordinator for the Flagler College Sustainability Committee. She buys all of her clothes and furniture second-hand, prefers to walk or ride her bicycle, recycles and composts and has a small garden with chickens. “The Sustainability Committee looks out for all things crunchy-granola, “ says Corwin. “Two years ago we got recycling to come onto campus, and that is now part of the maintenance department at Flagler. More recently, we’ve replaced all of the lights in the lions heads around campus to LED lights that run much more efficiently.
More than 30 local vendors attended this year’s sustainability event, including Slow Food First Coast, Sustainable Gardening for Florida, ECO-Ride, Green Florida Properties, Habitat for Humanity and The Floridian restaurant. The vendors set up awareness tables on Flagler’s West Lawn to encourage students and faculty to become more aware of their environment, to live sustainably and make environmentally friendly choices.
A speaker’s forum run by the Flagler College chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists hosted the Sustainability Soapbox, encouraging students and faculty to give impromptu speeches. Frank Lawton, a recent Flagler College graduate, spoke about promoting sustainability by volunteering for St. Augustine’s Youth Services, a foster home for abused and neglected boys. “I started a business called SoapyTails. It’s an all-natural, biodegradable soap with a piece of hemp rope sticking out from the end On the end is a tag that talks about each kid I volunteer with. When people buy the product, 100 percent of the profits go back to the boys to help them pay for their essentials,” Lawton explained.
Other Love Your Planet activities included Flagler College faculty’s panel on sustainability. The keynote speech was given by Rick Stevens, manager of the solid waste and sanitation division for St. Augustine Public Works. The last event of the day was a screening of “Slow Food Sundays,” a short documentary produced by Nadia Ramoutar, Ph.D., digital film and video production instructor at the Art Institute of Jacksonville.
In addition to Love Your Planet, the Flagler College Sustainability Committee promotes interdisciplinary connections between the college’s academic departments. It also monitors its sustainability policies and makes connections with various communities and organizations in the First Coast area. Several student clubs on campus also promoting sustainability including SGA Green Committee and Enactus (SIFE).
Warrenburg-Rome hopes Love Your Planet will also inspire the surrounding community. “Each year this event gets a little bit bigger and is more influential. I think it’s really cool to begin to think about the nations oldest city in a new, more sustainable way.”
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