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September 29, 2008

New Group on Campus: UAlbany Students for Sustainability

At the Farmers' Market on campus.

Mary Ellen Mallia, center, with Jessica Wysocki and Lynne Radle of UAlbany Students for Sustainability at the Farmers' Market on campus. (Photo Mark Schmidt)

This September marks the start of UAlbany Students for Sustainability’s (USS) first full school year as a student organization at the University at Albany. With the help of Director of Environmental Sustainability Mary Ellen Mallia, the group was established in March 2008 by students interested in the sustainability movement. Its main purpose is to direct student driven sustainability projects on campus and in the community. Mallia’s position was created by the University last January to support UAlbany’s sustainability efforts by planning programs related to campus environmental issues.

Last year USS held an event called Dump and Run: at the end of the school year its members set up bins in the quads in order for students to donate reusable items. They collected everything from clothes and books to furniture, and donated it to the First Lutheran Church for its shelter for the homeless.

President of UAlbany Students for Sustainability Lynne Radle said, “It’s a great way to prevent reusable things from ending up in landfills, and at the same time help local charities and organizations.” Radle is a junior from Buffalo, N.Y., and a public policy major. She said last year’s Dump and Run was fairly successful. The group has already begun planning this year's event, and the turnout should be even better.

Another event that students may remember from last year is the Energy Saving Campaign. The contest, which started again in the beginning of September and runs until the beginning of November, encourages quad residents to save energy. Each quad’s energy usage for the semester is measured and compared to that of last year; the amount saved through reduced usage is then returned to the residents to buy a recreational item of their choice. The quad that saves the most compared to last year is named the winner, but all of the quads get the cost equivalent of what they save by reducing energy usage - so really, everyone wins.

At the Farmers' Market

UAlbany students are environmentally aware. (Photo Mark Schmidt)

In addition to being the president of USS, Radle is also president of the campus chapter of the New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG). She said the groups plan on working together, along with Campus Greens (a student organization interested in the Green Party) on various environmental projects at the University. Some of their goals for the year are to get more recycling bins on campus and propose the use of biodegradable utensils for Fountain Day. The group's next event is a tour of the Governor's Mansion on Oct. 2 at 2 p.m. to view improvements to make the mansion more environmentally friendly. "Of course, members will be carpooling or taking the bus," said Radle. The event is free and open to everyone. 

Students who are interested in sustainability can visit the USS Web site or join its Facebook group. For information on the Governor’s Mansion tour or on how to become a member of USS, contact Radle by e-mail at lynneradle@gmail.com.

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