As of last semester, ASUSF Senate added a representative to conduct sustainability efforts and build a sustainability culture on campus.
Madeleine Shelton, a junior entrepreneurial and innovation student, is Senate’s first Vice President of Sustainability, and has been working on a number of projects throughout the academic year, from handing out USF-customized, reusable water bottles to students to planning a school festival for Earth Day in April.
Shelton is currently in the midst of planning multiple events, and is aiding participation in Recyclemania, an eight week competition throughout North America in which universities compete for the highest accuracy in correct waste disposal. Shelton is collaborating with the Environmental Safety Office, who tracks how much waste goes into landfill, recycle, and compost bins on campus.
“What we’ve found so far is that 75% of waste that is removed from our campus is improperly put in landfill that could be put in the other two [categories, compost and recycling],” she said. “Our sustainability committee is trying to increase education about what goes where.”
Shelton thinks the problem of improper waste disposal is improving this semester, because many of the people that live on campus are new to USF and San Francisco, and have now adapted to the environmentally-conscious culture here.
She supports the Environmental Safety Office’s initiative in hiring Eco-Educators, which monitors the correct disposal of waste in the cafeterias on campus. “They certainly are an integral part in communicating the overarching message of [correct] waste management,” she said.
Shelton, who is also in charge of bike repair day, wants to promote bike culture at USF. Bike repair day occurs on the first Tuesday of every month from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in Gleeson Plaza, and features a free bike repair station for students and faculty.
In addition, Shelton is putting together a festival in honor of Earth Day along with a variety of on-campus departments and outside vendors. Students are encouraged to attend the celebration on Tuesday, Apr. 22.
As Shelton works towards sustainability efforts on campus, she also has a vision for the future. She sees her position as not only about supporting the above causes, but also as means of creating social sustainability.
Social sustainability, she thinks, is right in line with our mission at USF, to change the world from here. She wants to create events that support eco-friendly practices, while also allowing more students to meet each other — something we’re still missing out on, said Shelton.
She wants to aid students in “the creation of meaningful relationships and dialogue. We live in a culture where everything is immediate. In our generation, we wanted it yesterday, so I really think that’s something that we can talk about within the sustainability committee, living in the now, living in the present, with intention.”