We need to talk about how we’re destroying our campus

Instead of getting lit this Friday night, come to the quad and turn the lights out instead

Come to the quad on Friday April 15, AKA THIS FRIDAY, at 6:00 PM to go turn off the lights in the educational buildings on the quad.  And get free pizza! I’ll be there. You should come. I’ll admit, if I hadn’t seen the streets covered in trash last Saturday morning, I probably wouldn’t be going to this event because I wouldn’t know about it. But this is me telling you to go to this event to raise awareness about our campus carbon footprint, because to be honest it sucks.

6th Street last Saturday morning.

This photo doesn’t even show how much garbage there was on the street.  I know I walked over at least three DP Dough boxes, 10 plastic bags, and too many cups to count. This is when I realized how horrible we are to our school. U of I has an amazing campus.  Nothing beats a nice day on the quad when all the trees are full and the flowers are bloomed. But if we don’t start to change our campus sustainability culture, then our campus won’t stay looking this good for long.

Can’t deny the beauty of the quad

A lot of students WANT to improve their habits, but don’t have the NEED to do it. In reality, it’s as easy as turning the lights off when you leave the room. And throwing away your trash, even if it’s not in a recycling bin, it’s better than on the ground.  So why do we as a campus NEED to start doing these things? The University of Illinois campus has 500,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide emission per year. Don’t worry I didn’t understand what that meant either, but to put it in perspective, we have as much emissions as the entire city of Urbana.

So why do we have all of these emissions? In short, because our campus very fortunate. But to be more specific, it’s because we have so much great research going on. Being a number one tier research institution means a lot of equipment to do that research.  From walk-in freezers, to surgery rooms for horses, to a super computer, U of I has a lot of equipment. That means pollution, wasting energy, using resources, and in turn increasing our carbon emissions. Now, I’m not saying we should stop all of this research, I’m saying we need to counteract it.

When you throw your trash on the ground, you need to know that in turn it affects you. This is your campus, and whatever you do to it, it’s going to suffer. Eventually, we’ll start to see the effects. So let’s just stop being ignorant towards our campus sustainability. When you’re on the quad and you go to throw something out, notice you have two options. One says landfill, one says recycle. It’s supposed to be an eye opener to you that if you consciously choose to not recycle, your garbage is going to end up in a landfill somewhere only to destroy our planet.

BUT, it’s not too late everyone. We can make a difference. There are 40,000 kids here, imagine what we could do. Just start by changing your own habits one step at a time, and start by attending Illini Lights Out this Friday night. And while you’re at it, turn your own lights off too!

University of Illinois