Students encouraged to “Do One Thing Today”

Sonoma State University’s push to create a cleaner and greener campus community has a new face. The “Do One Thing Today” (DOTT) campaign is the newest endeavor to inform our community about the significant and various sustainability efforts happening across campus.

“All the statistics are telling us that global warming is deeply, deeply affecting weather patterns and the ability to produce and equally distribute food and water,” said Paul Draper, SSU director of sustainability. “[DOTT] is an invitation for individuals to do something that is in their power to affect climate change, and it starts at a local level.”

“Too often, ‘Sustainability’ is cast as a buzz word and is used without a deeper understanding of the environmental, economic and socio-cultural concerns that are arising out of a globalized, industrialized, digitalized, twenty first century lifestyle,” said Tomio Endo, incoming director of sustainability for Join Us Making Progress (JUMP) and co-director of the Sonoma Student Growers’ Cooperative. “All of us at JUMP and the Sonoma Student Growers’ Cooperative are hoping we can provide practical and meaningful opportunities for students to discover and explore what a sustainable lifestyle may look like from their own perspective.”

Although Sonoma State has made several notable achievements in sustainability such as the many Join Us Making Progress (JUMP) programs, student-grown food in the Kitchens, composting within campus dining, and an Associated Students’ resolution concerning water bottle filling stations on campus, there is an acknowledged disconnect between the different efforts.

“There are many [sustainability efforts] going on, but each is secluded so we don’t know what each other are doing,” said Allison Jenks, Associated Students senator for sustainability. “[This campaign] is working on connecting all of these parts.”

“Do One Thing Today” began in February with the combination of Draper’s desire to connect the dots between various on-campus organizations’ individual efforts and the provost’s vision that sustainability be one of the university’s signature priorities.

Partnering with artist Kurt Kemp and East Bay marketing firm Green Flash, Draper released a poster which illustrates DOTT’s aims. He also organized several students, faculty and staff to make a short video about the importance of sustainability on the Sonoma State campus.

“As an artist who works pretty much by myself all of the time, it was truly enjoyable to collaborate with Paul and the others involved in the creation of the poster,” said Kemp. The posters can be seen across campus, and the video is on the Sustainable SSU website.

“We were asked to come in and help create a video that would inspire others to act sustainably,” said Tom Cavers, a partner of Green Flash who helped with the creation of the video. “The ironic thing about all of this was that we walked away inspired ourselves. It was so neat how individuals were acting on their own to do great things for sustainability.”

DOTT’s campaign hopes to draw more support from this week’s Earth Week, a week of sustainability-related events organized by Associated Students including an Earth Day Fair today. The Fair will be held in the plaza between Darwin and Stevenson Hall from 11:30-1:00 p.m. and will feature live music and a Tesla “S” car. Other actions and events planned for Earth Week are a Santa Rosa Creek Clean Up, a plastic bag and clothing drive, a Nutrition Workshop and a Toward Route Zero College Sustainability Tour. For a full list of Earth Week events, visit the Sonoma State website.

Earth Week is only the beginning of DOTT’s movement. A campus-wide effort to increase student participation in recycling and waste diversion is occurring during Move Out Week (May 8-9). Student volunteer groups will be stationed near the resident buildings to help direct students to sustainably dispose of their unwanted goods.

Last week’s “Sustainability in the Classroom” award recipients will find their proposed courses added to more than 35 existing courses in sustainability offered at SSU in disciplines as diverse as environmental studies, geology, biology, economics, communications studies, philosophy, geology, anthropology, political science, sociology and liberal studies. The new courses will be presented at the “Sustainability Expo” to be held at the Green Music Center on Oct. 21 and will be available for students next year.

“I’m excited about the ‘Do One Thing Today’ campaign,” said Claudia Luke, director of the Sonoma State Preserves. “Sonoma State’s three Preserves (Galbreath Wildlands Preserve, Fairfield Osborn Preserve, and Los Guillicos Preserve) are places where students can learn about how they are connected to local environments. I hope students will sign up for one of our internship programs as their ‘one thing today.’”

“Another great thing about DOTT is that it shows people that sustainability is a daily, conscious decision that you don’t need to devote your life to in a big crazy way,” said Jenks. “Doing one thing every day adds up, whether it is choosing a reusable water bottle instead of a single use water bottle, or making a point of composting the waste from your lunch correctly.”

“I believe that ‘thinking’ sustainably is not enough; we need to ‘do’ sustainably,” said Endo. “For students, DOTT may just mean getting outside more and taking a moment out of your day to tell a friend that you care; but regardless, these small and simple acts can help make SSU and life a more wholesome and exciting place.”

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