Tag Archives: Conservation

College 101 Students Establish Their Roots

By: Dr. Lauren Sassenoff, Professor of English, LIU Post

All teachers who value the significance of education want to see their students flourish and gradually learn to trust their own sense of self. As an English professor and a College 101 professor, I have seen students thrive in the classroom and utilize the tools and resources they have developed in this environment of enrichment. However, this semester, I have had the privilege of observing my College 101 students further their sense of awareness and their independence by establishing their roots outside the classroom.

From the beginning of the semester, my College 101 class—comprised of the students, our amazing peer mentor, Stephanie Frobin, and myself—wanted our Service Learning Project to be something that is both original and create a sense of fulfillment. Thus, my brilliant peer mentor asked me a seemingly simple yet intelligent question: “Is there a way we can plant a tree?” Once we asked students for their input, they were enthusiastic to not only this idea but to rediscover the joy of the outdoors. Moreover, I realized that in order to better understand the environment and Sustainability, we must be in the most natural setting for such a project. Since we live in a digital age where most people go online in order to learn about issues involving our environment, our class decided to spread environmental awareness the old fashioned way: go outside and become one with nature. This was now becoming a metaphorically empowering project and a bold statement for the students as well as Stephanie and I: we are carving out our own path, and we are united on this quest to promote environmental awareness.

Tree Planting

Breaking Ground

On November 25th 2014, our College 101 class set out near Suffolk Hall to plant our tree. I use the pronoun “our” because this tree is as much a part of me as this symbol of environmental enrichment is a part of Stephanie and every student in this class. Each student would dig and help to put the tree in its proper place. Additionally, we had a team of experts and LIU Post workers so committed to our goal of creating roots. Without them, this would all be for naught. Therefore, we thank them for their time, expertise, and kindness. What started out as such a seemingly impossible and small idea took us on a journey of awareness and unification for Sustainability.

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Planting a crepe myrtle

I find myself in a very interesting and rewarding position. I have been a member of the LIU Post community for eleven years, as a student and now as a professor. Yet, it was not until this project came along that I truly felt I had put down roots. These roots are not only mine and Stephanie’s roots, but they belong to every single freshman we had the privilege of working with in College 101 this semester. Even though the semester is coming to an end, this project marks the beginning of everyone’s journey as well as everyone’s involvement with Sustainability.

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Finished Product

LIU Post Adds More Hydration Stations

Over the course of the last 2 years, many water bottle filling stations have been installed by the Department of Facilities Services at LIU Post. And after receiving an enormous amount of positive feedback from students as well as the Student Government Association, Facilities Services decided to add a hydration station to the lobby of each residence hall, bringing the total amount of hydration stations on campus to 21.

These water bottle filling stations not only filter the tap water, but they have a Green Counter that visually displays a count of the plastic water bottles saved from landfill. Therefore, students can do their part to reduce plastic pollution by filling up their reusable water bottles while at the same time enjoying the fresh, cold, crisp water that these hydration stations provide.

SGA President Dan Potenzieri, a strong supporter of this initiative said:

Since the beginning of the 2013-14 school year, SGA has been working with Facilities Services and the Sustainability Committee to get more hydration stations on campus, particularly in the residence halls. The push to get these installed not only came from student need, but also to provide a service to resident students that impacted their health, finances, and the environment all in a positive way.

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Frank from Queens Hall refilling his reusable water bottle.

Thus far, students have responded rather enthusiastically to the new hydration stations as seen in the amount of plastic water bottles saved in the Green Counter. In fact, the newly installed hydration stations in the residence halls have already saved over 2,300 plastic water bottles in a period of just 2 weeks.

When asked about why this initiative was important, Bill Kirker, the Director of Facilities Services said:

“The timing was right. There was increasing talk about water bottle filling stations and we saw it as a good direction to go in as far as providing not just filtered water for people, but a way to conveniently fill their own bottle. Everything came together at the same time.”

Jerrome Warden, a resident student from Riggs Hall, said it best: “Hydration station is as fun to say as it is to drink from.”

Do your part and utilize one of our many hydration stations!

Water Refill Station Stats

Professor Pires Protects Planet By Practicing Paperless Principles

For the first time EVER in his many years of teaching, LIU Post Geography Professor Mark Pires graded papers electronically. Opting not to print out the 22 papers submitted by his graduate students in his Topics in Applied Conservation class, Professor Pires traded in his red pen for a keyboard and instead typed out his comments rather than writing them down on printed-out versions.

Noting that this was at first somewhat foreign to him, Professor Pires did admit that grading papers this way was a much more sustainable option as it saves energy, resources, and money.

“I have been teaching sustainability for some time now and I’ve decided to practice what I preach by grading all of my papers electronically from here on out,” said Professor Pires.

He continued by saying, “I teach almost 100 students. That’s a lot of paper to print.” Indeed it is.

Printer Ink BloodIn a day and age where ink costs more than human blood, it has never been more important to conserve these valuable resources. Between the cost of paper, ink, and even the labor time spent on printing, there is a pretty substantial cost savings opportunity to go paperless.

Could you imagine just how much time, energy, and resources could be saved if every professor at LIU Post graded papers this way?

Well, we can come up with a ballpark figure based on some simple assumptions.

For example, LIU Post employs about 300 full-time professors. Let’s say conservatively, that half of them require each one of their students to submit at least one 5-page term paper over the course of a semester. With an overall student/faculty ratio of 12:1, we’re looking at a minimum of 1,800 students writing at least 9,000 pages worth of papers. That’s 18,000 pieces of paper that could potentially be saved over the course of an academic year if every professor were to emulate Professor Pires’ new style of grading papers.

Paper-TreesAccording to some estimates by Conservatree, this would save approximately 2 trees. And certainly the impact would be much larger considering that this is an extremely conservative estimate, which doesn’t even account for other printing needs like class notes, memos, flyers, etc.

Not to mention, the student population in Fall 2012 included 4,429 undergraduate students and 2,697 graduate students. Assuming that half of those students wrote at least 10 pages over the course of the academic year, we are looking at a figure of 35,630 pieces of paper.

And with the actual cost of printing between 6 cents and 13 cents per page, it simply makes sense to grade papers electronically as this would represent a savings of anywhere between $2,137 to $4,632.

As Professor Pires said, “We must practice what we preach.”

If you would like to share your own story of sustainability, please contact us.