Student club befriends environment

By Julia Ernst

As The Rider News has noted before, college students use up a great deal of power each day. Every available wall outlet in a typical residence hall is crowded with plugs leading to power strips with even more outlets. Students overload these in order to fire up televisions, refrigerators, cell phone chargers and computers.

Students are wasting too much energy, and something should be done to curtail such extensive usage, according to sophomore biology majors Valerie Sodi and Donjae Catanzariti.

Sodi and Catanzariti recently put together a club called “Sustainable Rider,” which was recognized at a Senate meeting this past semester, making them an official organization on campus.

“Education is the most important achievement the club could make,” said Dr. Laura Hyatt, a biology professor and the adviser for Sustainable Rider.

“I would love to see [the club] put sustainability on the map for every student who comes through the campus,” said Hyatt. She went on to explain that if “every graduate of Rider leaves with an awareness that they have choices” on how to use energy and throw trash away, it would make a huge impact.

Sodi explained the intention of the club in general terms that echoed Hyatt’s position.

“The definition of a sustainable community is that you live and provide for yourself without affecting other generations,” said Sodi. She added that if students “use what we need,” change would occur immediately and successfully.

The club has experienced a rather late start on things, making it difficult for it to really establish a following or make a large number of changes during the 2006-2007 school year. However, Sodi and Catanzariti are two very determined young women who are doing as much as they can in the time that they have left.

One of the projects they have initiated is the Million Monitor Drive.

“It puts your computer into sleep mode,” explained Sodi. “The screen shuts down after 15 minutes.”

Sodi explained that although computer screens shut down after a certain period of time, all of the information students were working on will reappear when the computer wakes up, saved and in the same condition as when it went to sleep. She also noted that this program is being done through the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and that it emits less carbon dioxide.

A second project the students hope to work out is at the end of the school year. “We’re going to set-up an End-of-Semester exchange on the campus mall,” said Catanzariti.

“Thirty dumpsters full of trash are removed from the dorms at the end of the year,” she said. “If you don’t want something, bring it to the Exchange.”

Sod and Catanzariti already have ideas for next year.

“We want to set up garbage cans in the parking lots,” said Catanzariti.

Hyatt echoed the students’ thoughts by explaining some long-term goals they may get to accomplish.

“I hope that we can eventually be part of freshman orientation or move-in week,” said Hyatt. “If students get into sustainable habits early on, they’ll stick for their lives, at least for their lives on campus.”

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