An edited version of this article was featured in the school newspaper, The Crow’s Nest, read it here:
Although the president of the Student Environmental Awareness Society said the club has been down a “rocky road this semester,” they continue to meet every Tuesday at 5 p.m. and plan events.
“The reason I say it’s rocky is because of transitions. We have had two different presidents in the past two semesters,” said Catie Wonders, the president of the Student Environmental Awareness Society, or S.E.A.S., and senior at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg. Continuity is essential and Wonders thinks they may have finally found that.
With a beautiful view of nature, the S.E.A.S. members meet in the Poynter Corner of the library at USFSP. The surrounding windows of their meeting room affords the members clear views of a bright blue sky, the pristine bay, and the lush green landscape of the campus. All of which S.E.A.S. seeks to protect and preserve. Wonders pulled out her laptop and notebook, both adorned with environmental awareness stickers, to get organized before the meeting. Also a major of Environmental Science and Policy, it is easy to see why Wonders makes a perfect candidate for her position in S.E.A.S. As president, she begins the meeting on Nov. 6, 2012 on time and welcomes the 10 returning and new members.
Throughout the meeting, the organization displayed a relaxed atmosphere. The students were joking around, laughing, and having fun while discussing the upcoming events, but their intent was clearly serious. Discussions during the meeting ranged from proposed film viewings to Earth Day celebrations to campus outreach programs.
While their goals are universal, their focus is local, with an aim to create environmental solutions that affordably integrate into our everyday lives. One such solution is to supply the campus with refilling stations for water bottles which will alleviate the need for more plastic and the energy to transport newly sold water bottles from one location to another. Billions of these carelessly discarded water bottles end up in landfills and as pollution annually. Mike Leggett, Chairman of S.E.A.S. and a major in Environmental Science, is in charge of this project. About S.E.A.S., Leggett said, “We have the capability to back up any sustainable projects that they [the students] want to bring.” Another solution proposed by Leggett requests the university replace inefficient incandescent light bulbs with more cost effective and cleaner LED bulbs. The parking garage, which contains scores of incandescent bulbs, would be the first proposed site of Leggett’s bulb replacement project. According to the Federal Government’s energy saving website, www.energystar.gov, “The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that rapid adoption of LED lighting in the U.S. by 2027 could deliver savings of about $265 billion, avoid 40 new power plants, and reduce lighting electricity demand by 33% in 2027.” The realization that these types of small steps result in big changes is what drives the members of S.E.A.S. forward.
Upcoming events planned by the group include a restoration of Little Bayou Park, a local beach and campus beautification project, and a nature hike at Brooker Creek Preserve Environmental Education Center in Tarpon Springs. Mathew Monroe, the planned leader of the Brooker Creek Preserve hike and an Executive Board Member of S.E.A.S., encourages everyone to participate. “The idea behind S.E.A.S. is to get people aware and get people outside to realize we are a part of the environment,” said Monroe.
For more information, you can attend a meeting Tuesdays at 5 p.m. on the first floor of the library at the Poynter Corner or you can contact the president at firstname.lastname@example.org.