Earth Day Celebrates 50; USD Sustainability Makes an Impact

Earth Day Celebrates 50; USD Sustainability Makes an Impact

Today, April 22, 2020, marks the 50th anniversary of the initial declaration of Earth Day. It’s a time to reflect on the care of the environment locally, regionally, nationally and all across the world. It's also a time for action.

This milestone comes about when a health pandemic, COVID-19, is dominating society's focus, including ramifications on the environment.

Stay-at-home measures in the United States are providing some relief to the environment. More people who can work from home are doing so, which means less cars on the road. But there’s an equally important shift — people need to increase their sustainable awareness while staying home. Delivery of goods and services to homes means an increase in packaging materials, potential food waste, higher water and electricity usage. Even knowing what is and what isn't recyclable are all factors, according to Trey McDonald, USD’s director of sustainability.

McDonald, speaking in a Zoom conversation earlier this week, has been following new legislation activity and believes that if sustainability restrictions for businesses are eased too much, it will have a negative impact on the environment. Harmful actions to boost businesses could also contribute to increased health issues for people already at a higher risk for COVID-19 and other illnesses.

USD Donates Furniture to Disabled Veterans of America on Earth Day

At the University of San Diego’s Office of Sustainability, its website and support for education and experiential learning and actions to recognize, celebrate and boost sustainability efforts on campus, in the community and at home continues despite the pandemic.

When the university had to move all students off campus due to COVID-19 safety measures, the sustainability office, in conjunction with the Office of Residential Life and others had to move fast. One known commodity though was to be sure that student made use of permanent donation collection bins located around campus.

In an effort to divert material from the landfill and assist those in need, USD partners with Disabled American Veterans (DAV) for its donation program. The USD-DAV partnership began in May 2018.

Toreros looking to get rid of gently used clothing, linens, housewares, electronics, books, toiletries, etc. were able to place donations in any of the nine collection bins located around campus — in or near all residential areas, outside the SLP, inside Mother Rosalie Hill Hall (SOLES), and at the West Parking Tram Stop.

During the unexpected mid-March move out, more than 23,000 pounds of materials was collected, according to USD Sustainability Coordinator Alison Sanchirico. Since the partnership began, the total collection is more than 120,000 pounds.

Furthermore, this morning and coincidentally on Earth Day, multiple DAV trucks returned to USD’s campus to pick-up donations of more than 50 dressers and 50 desks and other furniture items. These donations keep the items out of local landfills and can better serve those in the community.

— Compiled by Ryan T. Blystone

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