Green organizations shine at Sustainability Tabling Fair

Meara Isenberg

Speedway was buzzing Wednesday morning, and not just because of students bustling to class.

Bees, saplings and sustainable organizations greeted students who strolled down the mid-campus street for the Sustainability Tabling Fair. Green-oriented organizations set up tables as part of Campus Sustainability Week, which highlights UT’s efforts towards building a sustainable future.

“It’s important for people to see the concepts they are learning about in the classroom — personal responsibility, climate change and recycling ­— on a grand scale and see that we are practicing that, that this campus is walking the talk on all of those issues,” director of sustainability Jim Walker said.

From the Texas Athletics Sustainability Squad to the Microfarm team, groups used their platform not only to recruit new members, but to share a common message.

“When we ourselves are making an effort to increase our recycling and compost, we are reducing our carbon footprint,” Sustainability Squad coordinator Andrea Alfaro said. “We are showing students and faculty and staff and our fans that we truly care about our world, we care about campus and we want to sustain the resources that we have here.”

With a goal to help UT-Austin become a zero waste campus by 2020, the Squad sorts through waste after football, baseball and other sports games to ensure correct composting and recycling.

Tables by organizations such as the Waller Creek Conservancy and BEEVO Beekeeping Society attracted a lot of attention with sunflower sprouts and a beehive that stood out along Speedway.

Environmental biology junior Sierra Ehlers said she was drawn to the beekeeping stand because she is currently working with a similar insect in her biology class.

“I am working with butterflies right now, measuring their response to thermal changes,” Ehlers said. “If we conserve biology and we conserve life, we in turn conserve the health of ecosystems, which will increase overall prosperity.”

Walker said although campus groups exemplify sustainability every day, in the end it’s up to students to take action to join them.

“Students should take it as a point of pride that they are good stewards of the physical environment,” Walker said. “You can spend four years on this campus and have no idea of how efficient the power plant is, how much the landscapes services crew cares about every single tree on this campus. That’s why it’s important.”