River Crossing Campus Apartments here at IU South Bend witnessed several big changes in the area of sustainability in the recent past.
The campus garden has been doubled in size to include eighteen beds and a native planting area. Both commuting and housing students participated in the several stages of the project. Over the summer, the beds were constructed and installed. As the fall semester began, several events were held to fill in the new beds with composted soil and to plant the native plants that lie between the two wings of the garden. This served as a great way to let students know about what we are doing over here. All through the growing season, I would see residents picking fresh vegetables.
River Crossing has also begun monthly Energy Competitions. Each month, the power usage of each of the eight houses of river crossing are monitored by resident and Sustainability and Wellness Club Secretary Cameron McPhail. Cameron normalizes the energy usage per student and declares a winner at the end of each month. Every month, as word gets out that a new competition is starting, residents come up to me and tell me what they are doing to save power and ask me what else they can do to save more.
These two activities serve to diminish our collective violations of System Condition for Sustainability #2: The accumulation of substances produced by society . Each basket of fresh veggies is one less plastic bag that is needed to carry produce purchased from a supermarket. Every light bulb saved from a landfill is one less synthetic burden placed on our ecosystem. As we become more aware of how our acts impact the world around us, the easier it is for us to spot better ways of living our lives.