Students and faculty at the University of West Alabama are turning the hope of a more environmentally friendly campus and town into a reality with its new green initiative.

Dr. Lee Stanton, professor of biology and environmental science who spearheaded the initiative, said he is hopeful about the student and community response to the effort. “UWA has a beautiful campus, full of rich natural resources and green space. It only makes sense that we try to preserve this for as long as possible, and the efforts of the green initiative can make that happen,” Stanton stated.

One of the most basic forms the green initiative takes is recycling bins. Dr. Stanton, along with other university and Livingston city officials, has taken charge of a revamping of the community’s recycling program by bringing in large recycling bins that can take a variety of materials including plastic, paper and glass. These bins make the seemingly difficult task of sorting materials to be recycled into something simple.

Dr. Stanton said that there are several other simple ways that students and community members can go green, without much effort, that go far beyond just recycling used materials. “There are many things students especially can do that can reduce their environmental impact, like turning off a faucet while they brush their teeth or turning off a light when they leave a room,” her observed.

Not only do these tasks help reduce one’s environmental footprint, they can also help save money in the long run. By turning off the water while one brushes his or her teeth, the amount of water saved each month can greatly reduce water bills. Electricity goes the same way: the less you use, the less you pay.

The burning of gasoline in automobiles has one of the greatest negative environmental impacts. This commonplace action often goes without thought as people drive back and forth to their obligations. Dr. Stanton hopes to change students’ perspectives on the matter by noting the benefits of walking.

“Our campus is certainly walker-friendly,” said Stanton, who is also head of the UWA parking committee. “If more students walked to class instead of driving everywhere, not only would we have less of a parking issue, but they would save money on gas, which is expensive as it is.”

The overall objective of the initiative is to raise awareness among students and community members about their environmental footprint and just how much waste they encounter each day. Stanton said he will remain optimistic about the initiative because of the positive feedback he’s gotten.

“Everyone seems to be on board with our green efforts, and I’m certain that will continue as we pursue more sustainability efforts.”

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