The stories that follow document many of the successful endeavors in sustainability that are happening across the NDSU campus. Big and small we are trying to cover it all, right here.
“Make the place better before you leave than when you first arrived,” this advice comes from Matt Skoy, director of NDSU Student Activities. Skoy’s grandfather instilled this advice in him early in life and Skoy has carried it with him throughout his life and career at NDSU.
NDSU’s Staff Senate Environmental Sustainability Committee sat down with Matt Skoy recently to learn more about how the Student Activities office approaches sustainability on campus. Skoy’s office takes a slightly different, more intangible approach when it comes to environmental sustainability. In order to move toward an environmentally sustainable future, one must instill the values and civic responsibility of a sustainable lifestyle, just as Skoy’s grandfather did many years ago.
“Environmental sustainability is everyone’s issue, it is our civic responsibility,” Skoy says. Civic responsibility is the theme of most programs offered through the Student Activities office. Just a few of the programs offered include the MLK Day service project and Serve with the Herd day of service. Both events usually have several hundred students participate. These events are geared toward making our community a better place. Skoy says, “We partner with local nonprofits throughout the community and college students volunteer their time and talents to serve that nonprofit. Some of the volunteer work consists of cleaning up parks and other local areas.” Ensuring our parks are free of garbage is essential to environmental sustainability for many reasons but one very important reason is to keep garbage from harming wildlife.
Recently, there have been articles written about the enormous amount of plastic in the ocean being mistaken for food by marine animals, polluting the water, and causing other damaging effects. Programs like MLK Day service project and Serve with the Herd day of service encourage NDSU students to participate in keeping our regional environment clean. Through these civic engagement activities students have an opportunity to become part of the solution to the world’s environmental issues. The hope is that someday these students will take what they learned in a Student Activities directed program and use that for the greater good.
One real-life example of NDSU students using what they have learned to make an impact is seen in the Student Activities Environmental Sustainability Club. In 2017, members of this club saw a lack of recycling stations at Bison sports-related tailgating events and took action by setting up and managing their own recycling stations. It is clear the values of environmental sustainability and civic responsibility instilled by programs offered through the Student Activities office have a direct and lasting effect on students. Staff Senate’s Environmental Sustainability Committee hopes to see more NDSU students take on sustainability initiatives as their way of leaving NDSU a better place than when they first arrived.