Office of Campus Sustainability kick-starts Earth Day - The South End: News

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Office of Campus Sustainability kick-starts Earth Day

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Posted: Friday, April 22, 2016 10:48 am

Wayne State’s Office of Campus Sustainability held an event that showcased what the university is doing to create a green and sustainable campus on April 21 in the Bernath Auditorium. 

The coordinator of OCS, Daryl Pierson, began by reviewing work done by the office in 2015 and environmental research and organizations dedicated to green initiatives at the university.

“There are a lot of positive things going on behind the scenes and I think a lot of times we don’t really know what exactly is happening,” said Pierson.

Some of the initiatives implemented in 2015 focused on WSU’s energy conservation, faculty and staff green engagement, a focus on sustainability and a push for alternative transportation.

“We have a bike share program that’s coming in the next year, bike lanes and bike racks,” Pierson said. “The bike infrastructure is being put in place to really support bike riders.”

Pierson talked about energy conservation and sustainability and how Wayne’s State wants to continue to make changes to how it creates and uses energy.

“Even if we fall short, we are headed in the right direction in terms of our energy usage,” he said.

Audrey Zarb, media director for Wayne State’s Urban Watershed Environmental Research Group, spent some time discussing water research at the university that incorporates multiple disciplines including engineering and psychology.

“They [various researchers] were able to see that if they worked together, they could solve problems, especially facing water in a much more interesting way,” said Zarb.

One of the past events from UWERG included the Food Energy Water Nexus Urban Tree Canopy Workshop in October 2015. The workshop focused on integrative and sustainable food, energy and water in transitioning urban landscapes.

Zarb discussed the importance of the university’s research on water systems and Michigan’s responsibility.

“We [Michiganders] are the luckiest mitten because we have 21 percent of the world's freshwater supply,” said Zarb. “We are the stewards and protectors of these very precious resources.”

Jack Pierick of the United States Green Building Student Chapter at Wayne State mentioned what the new environmental student chapter is all about.

“We want to learn about the problems that are surrounding us in the built environment and how we can make it more efficient and more sustainable,” Pierick.

Pierick acknowledged Wayne State’s recent green building certifications and how they help promote this sustainability on campus like the A. Paul Schaap Chemistry Building.

“Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, the main tool the USGBC has developed, is going to be one of the great methods of how we create a more sustainable future through our buildings,” said Pierick.

Pierson ended the presentation with a list of a few goals that OCS has set. These goals included facilitating operations between staff and students that get them more involved with green initiatives in the university, noting that now, more than ever, Wayne State is open to implementing ideas.

“We are still taking in some tactical goals," Pierson said. "If there is something that people have, we encourage them to share it because we think the ground is fertile to move forward with this sustainability plan."

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