Jacqueline Ho-Shing, a devoted recycler and bicycle enthusiast, always wanted to become more involved with sustainability around campus. Ho-Shing, a senior at The University of Pan-American, is dedicated to green living but was unsure how she could promote the cause to the UTPA community.
Ho-Shing became one of the office's many enthusiastic student interns who volunteered and participated in the Office of Sustainability's first Earth Week held April 15-19 to celebrate national Earth Day on April 22.
"The Office for Sustainability believes we are an all-inclusive University. Earth Week offers a great opportunity for students, staff, and faculty to get involved and make commitments to go green by pledging on our website," said Monica Reygada, program coordinator for the Office for Sustainability.
A highlight of the week of activities was the unveiling of new green technology to UTPA and the community. The acquisition of the series of high-tech machinery that will significantly preserve UTPA's unique ecological atmosphere was part of the Sustainability Campus Action Plan Projects put together by Director of Sustainability Marianella Quiroga-Quintanilla and her team and funded by the University.
The week also included a garden variety of games, contests, raffles, recycling drives, a healthy food challenge, and green awareness education.
The Big Belly solar machine, introduced at the East Library Courtyard, is a recycling station for plastics and refuse that has internal compactors that run on batteries. Made possible through the efforts of The Office for Sustainability, UTPA Facilities Management, and the Student Government Association, the environmentally friendly machine will save the University a lot of green. Two other useful machines unveiled - a hydro-mulcher and a wood chipper - will produce mulch from recycled brush and other organic materials resulting in a more beautiful and sustainable future for the UTPA campus grounds.
Alexis Bay, co-president of the Environmental Awareness Club (EAC), believes that education and green awareness are necessary tools young college students need for lifelong skills.
"As we all get our degrees and go on with our lives after college, the EAC wants to make people aware that environmentalism is truly a visionary practice. It prepares us for future thinking, not only about our ecological conditions today but for tomorrow as well," Bay said.
The EAC is hosting an additional Earth Week, April 22-26 offering a series of different and exciting events on campus. Go here for a list of the EAC Earth Week events.
For more information on how to go green, or pledge to live green, visit the Office for Sustainability website or call (956)665-3030.
See more photos at the 2013 Earth Week photo gallery.