New innovative, sustainable, and carbon net-zero athletics storage building
The new athletic storage on campus has been a great opportunity for SOU to demonstrate how it integrates sustainability into its operations and decisions from the beginning. Using shipping containers at the end of their typical life upcycles valuable material and displaces the need for raw building materials being brought on to campus. The storage building was also designed with a large roof space and located to maximize solar potential. This is SOU’s second net-zero building where the solar produces more than the energy requirements of the building helping to displace other electricity use on campus. Read more about it here.
Written by: Raynna Jackson, Student Sustainability Coordinator, SOU Sustainability Office
Earth day is a global movement that provides a voice for environmental consciousness and environmental issues. The first Earth Day was founded in 1970 by Senator Gaylord Nelson in the U.S. Earth Day is an annual celebration that honors the achievements of the environmental movement and raises awareness of the need to protect Earth’s natural resources for future generations. Earth day is celebrated on April 22.
Here at Southern Oregon University, we celebrate Earth day for an entire week! This is a time to educate and influence people on campus so they can be more aware of climate change and environmental issues that are happening locally, nationally, and globally. Earth Day is one of my favorite days because everyone comes together to promote sustainable initiatives and use their voice to speak out about important ecological issues across the world.
Jill Smedstad (she/her) is the Equity Coordinator for Sustainability and Basic Needs Resourcing in Student Life at SOU. She has been at SOU in this role since 2014 and she is an SOU alum, graduated in 2004 with a BS in Sociology and obtained her MS in Geography at OSU. What sustainability at SOU looks like for her is, “all hands on deck, where every person, program and place that makes up SOU prioritizes sustainability outcomes in decision making.” Jill and her team do an excellent job incorporating sustainability at SOU. As the staff advisor for the Student Sustainability Team (formerly ECOS) of the Social Justice and Equity Center in Student Life, Jill works closely with students to apply sustainability principles to advance positive change on our campus and beyond. For example, her team leads the SOU Real Food Commitment efforts helping to shift campus food procurement toward more ecologically sound, local, fair, and humane foods. Part of these efforts includes partnering with various SOU faculty to connect their classroom content with concepts and applications of the Real Food Commitment. Another example is the Equity Roundtable zoom discussions they host, where students, staff, faculty, and community members gather to discuss how various forms of inequity affect the SOU community and identify opportunities for change. Jill’s favorite part about working at SOU is, of course, the people! She really misses seeing everyone in person! Thank you Jill for being an outstanding and committed staff at SOU!
When we use the word sustainability, we often think about things like protecting natural resources, renewable energy, and recycling. Creating more equality in social systems is part of sustainability and we are seeing more and more overlap between issues of social justice and access to clean air and water. Populations that are poor, of color, or indigenous are far more likely to be affected by the impacts of climate change. The United Nations recognizes that for real improvements in a society, everyone needs to have the access to opportunities that will let them grow as individuals. But this is not the case in many places where people face discrimination because of their gender, disability, status, ethnic or racial group, or background. Raynna Jackson, SOU Student Sustainability Coordinator caught up with Maria Rojas, Racial Justice Team, about social justice and equity at SOU.
Maria Rojas is a senior earning her chemistry degree with minors in biology and psychology. Maria is from Cochabamba, Bolivia. She is in the Honors College, she is a McNair Scholar, and is Chemistry Club President. Maria works for the Racial Justice Team as a racial justice programming assistant. She helped start the BIPOC Women in Leadership Series, she really appreciates the mission of the programs and being able to work on something she is genuinely passionate about. Maria collaborates with colleagues to create programs, training, and initiatives that will help serve and educate our community regarding racial justice matters. They lead student programs and activities to encourage engagement (especially during the difficult times that our country has faced in the last 9 months or so). Maria’s work with the Racial Justice team will help foster a more culturally competent and empathetic community. Maria also noted that she really appreciates the Honors College Director, Dr. Lyon, and her commitment to increasing diversity within the Honors College. She says that not only has Dr. Lyon dedicated a significant amount of time to resolve the lack of diversity within the Honors College, but she has also recognized the importance of increasing cultural competency within the college (students and professors!).
What an inspiration, go Maria!
The Paris Agreement aims to limit the global temperature increase to 2℃ and we need every country on board in order to achieve this. Did you know the United States makes up 15.6% of the world’s carbon footprint? Nearly 200 countries have partnered together and signed the Paris Agreement (Global Footprint Network). Signing the Paris agreement means a commitment to reducing global emissions, adapting to the impacts of climate change, and providing resources to developing countries that are being affected by climate change.
“We have to recognize that every breath of air we take, every mouthful of food we take, comes from the natural world. We damage ourselves. We are one coherent ecosystem. It’s not just a question of beauty or interest, or wonder – the essential ingredient of human life is a healthy planet.”
~ David Attenborough
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