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Sustainability continues to be a focus for student government

ASGThe Associated Student Government Sustainability Committee (ASG SusCom) has created two programs, Green Student Group Accreditation and Green Events Consulting. These programs make it easy for student organizations to make sustainability a priority; through conserving energy and water, as well as reducing waste. The Green Accreditation program incentivizes student groups to consider sustainability in their everyday operations. From advertising online instead of flyering to buying locally sourced food. This spring, ASG SusCom sent out a baseline survey to student groups to gauge their practices and will be distributing a second survey in the fall. Two thousand dollars will be dispersed to the “most improved” groups.

The Green Events Consulting team works directly with student groups to advise them on how to host environmentally conscious events. A Green Events Consulting Guide was compiled, which is broken into four categories, waste, energy/transportation, food, and resources. Each category shares helpful tips and suggestions, such as the steps to get recycling and compost bins at their events. This year, the team worked with Dance Marathon to provide reusable water bottles to dancers, compost food scraps, and track energy consumption to purchase carbon offset credits. They also consulted the Global Village, NU Conference on Human Rights (NUCHR), the Global Engagement Summit (GES), and the Residence Hall Association’s End of the Year Barbecue.

The committee will continue to expand on these projects, as well as introduce a couple new initiatives next year. This includes helping groups and events pursue alternatives to flyering on campus to reduce paper use and waste. As another waste reduction effort, ASG SusCom aims to help off-campus students curb their food waste by raising awareness of compost services. NU already composts all leftover food in Norris and on-campus dining halls, but the committee hopes to target off-campus students Fall 2014 to ensure they are aware of Collective Resource, which will pick up compost from one's home.

They will also be working with Faculty and the Provost to ensure that NU’s many sustainability courses can serve as a science distribution requirement. ASG SusCom will play a critical role in the creation of the NU Strategic Plan for Sustainability with Vice President for Sustainability, Christina Cilento, sitting on the Sustainability Leadership Council and SusCom members participating in working groups.

As for events, the committee is interested in hosting an Environmental Day of Service during Green Cup where students can volunteer to work with environmentally-themed organizations across Evanston. Additionally, they will be in charge of the planning of Food Day on October 24, 2014, a nationwide event dedicated to spreading awareness about the importance of quality food. Food Day will be focused on exploring the value of organic, local, non-genetically modified foods and discussing how Northwestern can make its food options more sustainable.