Young people across Kentucky know what is at stake if our communities and institutions don’t take sustainability seriously, our future. That is why we are united in the fight to protect our health, our communities, and our planet and it’s why we hosted a statewide day of action on November 20th.
Twelve campuses took action towards campus sustainability, reduce waste, increase energy efficiency and renewable energy, and support the local food economy as a part of the Kentucky Student Environmental Coalition's Sustainability Day of Action. Each student organization chose actions or events that could further their own organizations campus goals while staying united in the message that our campuses must be leaders when it comes to protecting our communities, our natural resources, and our future.
A day of action is just that, one day. But we know what is at stake and we won’t stop until we are sure that our future, our communities, and our planet can thrive. We deserve the same chance to flourish as previous generations without having to choose between the economy and our health, the needs of people now and the needs of people in generations to come. Sustainability is the only option.
One priority of young Kentuckians is the transition to a renewable energy future and protection of our precious air and water resources. Both University of Kentucky's Greenthumb and Eastern Kentucky University's Green Crew took action towards securing commitments from their university administration to creating and implementing a climate action plan to reduce greenhouse gases and move their campuses towards carbon neutrality. At Murray State University MESS collected petitions for their on-going Green Fee campaign to fund sustainable projects and renewable energy installations and Centre College's Centre Environmental Association educated peers and built support for a revolving loan fund to take their college's commitment to sustainability to the next level.
Another priority of Kentucky students is around the reducing the amount of waste associated with our campuses. Many campuses across the Commonwealth still don't have campus-wide recycling (hard to believe since it’s almost 2015, but it‘s true!) so several schools focused their events on launching recycling campaigns and promoting on campus recycling and education. Campuses involved included Transylvania University's TEAL Organization, Alice Llyod College's Environmental and Outdoor Club, and Kentucky State University's Green Society (KSU is Kentucky's only historically black university AND the only public university in the state without a campus-wide recycling program). University of Louisville's GRASS Organization also participated by promoting their on campus "Free-Store" as a way to encourage reducing waste and reusing clothing and other items, rather than buying new. Berea College’s HEAL organization participated in a clothing drive to promote reusing and to collect much needed items for their local homeless shelter. Dupont Manual High School's Environmental Club also used this day of action to launch a new campaign to ban Styrofoam and to increase the amount of local food available in their cafeteria.
Beginning with Kentucky's campus communities, KSEC works toward an ecologically sustainable future through the coalescence, empowerment, and organization of the student environmental movement. We are a unified front moving forward on environmental justice through activism, development, and education. We believe in holding campuses, corporations, and governments both responsible and accountable not only in maintaining the environment but allowing ecosystems to live and prosper. We seek to expand our reach and engage our communities by building relationships with non-student driven organizations which stand in solidarity with our cause. By using our unique position as students, we demand that our universities practice sustainability by utilizing clean, renewable, safe energy.