Class focuses on environmental issues


UNF’s global environmental struggles class is hosting the first Environmental Awareness Day on the Green Nov. 25. Five groups of students from the class will be doing demonstrations and talking with other students to raise awareness for environmental issues.

The creator and instructor of the class, Dr. Suzanne Simon, never planned the event into her syllabus.

“There was this growing sensibility within the class that rather than simply write one more paper… many of the students basically said they would rather do something,” Simon said.

The students chose topics such as battery recycling and disposal, preservation of animal habitats, and water and electricity conservation. They connected these broad issues to real problems at UNF and in the Jacksonville area.

“It was nice to see the students realize environmental struggles aren’t always elsewhere; they’re right here at home,” Simon said. “I think it’s going to be tremendously successful.”

Responsible Lawn Care
This group will be sharing information about water conservation and environmentally friendly lawn care techniques. It will explain how run-off from some fertilizers and pesticides contaminate the St. Johns River.

Demonstrations will include the use of a bucket to collect rainwater and the ways different species of native plants can be used in native landscaping. This is a process that saves energy, time and money, said senior international studies major and group member, Katrina Norbom.

“It’s a really strange societal norm how we take care of our lawns here in Florida,” Norbom said. “We have homeowners associations that keep [using landscaping methods that] essentially destroy the environment.”

Shock Your Thoughts
This group will be telling students about the harmful effects of throwing away used batteries, the ways they can be properly disposed of and the benefits of using rechargeable batteries instead.

“A lot of people don’t even realize it’s an issue,” said junior international studies major and group member Roarie Borg. “They just toss their batteries when they’re done with them.”

Hit the Switch
This group will be passing out fliers printed on the backs of already used paper to not only inform students of ways to save on their electricity bills and reduce carbon emissions, but to demonstrate how easy re-using items like paper can be, Simon said.

It will also post fliers next to UNF’s bathroom light switches encouraging people leaving to “hit
the switch.”

What the Duck
Members of this group will be questions like, “Is our campus as environmentally friendly as we’ve always assumed it to be?”

The answers to the questions they pose will come in the photographs they will have demonstrated at their booth. These pictures will show the pollution, construction and water loss around campus, sophomore anthropology major Jennifer Huenink said.

“The campus is portrayed to be very green and environmentally friendly, but what we’re seeing contradicts that strongly,” Huenink said.

Cookies for Carbon Offset
This group will be selling brownies and cookies donated by the Grassroots Natural Market. With these funds, it will purchase a carbon offset from to help reduce UNF’s carbon footprint.

At the event, it will explain what a carbon footprint is and what efforts will be taken to help reduce it.

“We’re actually going to attach little tips to the cookies – top 10 ways to reduce your carbon footprint,” senior psychology major Courtney Lemon said.

E-mail Rebecca McKinnon at [email protected]