University Communications' own Dave journeys to the Office of Sustainability to discover how App State students are participating in sustainability on campus and to find out their favorite ways to make a positive environmental impact.
Dave Blanks: Hey folks, I'm Dave Blanks from University Communications. I'm headed to East Residence Hall, and I'm interviewing students that are involved in sustainability in their everyday lives, ways that they incorporate sustainability. So, I figured what better way to find sustainability people than to go to the Office of Sustainability. So, here I am. Let's head inside.
Dave Blanks: Apparently there's a meeting of some sort with ambassadors and Eco... I don't know, I'll find out. Let's find out who these people are.
Dave Blanks: What's your name?
Jessica Navarro-Luviano: I'm Jessica Navarro-Luviano
Dave Blanks: Jessica, what's going on in that room?
Jessica Navarro-Luviano: So, we're actually having an ambassadors meeting there, and it's just all the ambassadors that the Office of Sustainability has.
Dave Blanks: Are you one of those?
Jessica Navarro-Luviano: I am not. I'm actually a media person, so I am a communications and marketing person for the Office of Sustainability.
Dave Blanks: Cool. Awesome. So, what are you studying, you're media? You're communications?
Jessica Navarro-Luviano: Not any of them.
Dave Blanks: Oh, yeah?
Jessica Navarro-Luviano: So I'm Sustainable Technology with minor in Philosophy and Building Science. But sustainability definitely is in my major, my studies, my work. Obviously, here I am. And within my life too.
Dave Blanks: So, what are ways that you have shared with your peers about how they can be more sustainable? What's an actionable thing to make their life a little more sustainable?
Jessica Navarro-Luviano: I would say the number one thing is meat consumption. It's a relatively simple thing and it doesn't have to be... Oftentimes, it's very looked down upon like, "Oh, you're eating so much meat." I don't want that shame that comes with a lot of your eating habits. But I, myself, I'm not vegetarian right now, but I practiced it for a year. I took a break. It doesn't have to be anything continuous. You don't have to always just... Once you decide it, you have to keep it forever. You can always do little different things. Less meat.
Dave Blanks: Thanks for your time.
Jessica Navarro-Luviano: Of course. It was great talking to you.
Dave Blanks: Yeah, likewise. I'll let you get back to your meeting. And then we'll drag somebody else out here.
Dave Blanks: Who's next?
Vivienne Taylor: My name is Vivienne Taylor. I'm an Environmental Sciences Major concentration in Life Sciences.
Dave Blanks: What are Life Sciences? This is a silly question.
Vivienne Taylor: No, I mean, I wish I knew.
Dave Blanks: What?
Vivienne Taylor: No. So, I take a lot of biology courses, but also some chemistry and throwing a little more geology in there too.
Dave Blanks: We're talking about sustainability because this is Earth Month and also sustainability, a big part of our identity at App State, a big part of what we do. So, Vivienne, what is one of your favorite ways to make sustainability a part of your everyday?
Vivienne Taylor: Food.
Dave Blanks: Oh, yeah?
Vivienne Taylor: Food. Oh, my gosh. I could talk about food and sustainability genuinely for hours.
Dave Blanks: No hesitation.
Vivienne Taylor: None.
Dave Blanks: You answered right out the gate there. Food.
Vivienne Taylor: Absolutely none. I mean, upstream, downstream, I really enjoy cooking. Furthermore, I really enjoy getting local ingredients. The farmers' market every Saturday, the Watauga County Farmers' Market about to start back up in Horn in the West, plus they're going to be open for an extra hour this year.
Dave Blanks: Oh, cool. I did not know that.
Vivienne Taylor: Yep.
Dave Blanks: What are the hours. I'm going to put you on the spot. Do you remember the hours?
Vivienne Taylor: 8:00 AM to 1:00 PM.
Dave Blanks: Every Saturday?
Vivienne Taylor: Every Saturday until the end of November-ish.
Dave Blanks: And it's at the Horn in the West lot?
Vivienne Taylor: Horn in the West lot.
Dave Blanks: All right, excellent.
Vivienne Taylor: I like going there and meeting people who are growing your food and helping you nourish yourself. I think that's a really big part of it, but I also use B.A.D. Composting, Born Again Dirt Composting. Super cute.
Dave Blanks: What is that?
Vivienne Taylor: It's a local composting organization. It's actually started by former students and they have compost piles around Boone. And so, for $15 you can pay and they'll come pick up your compost for you. It's really nice service because you're technically not allowed to dump compost and some of the bins on campus if you live off campus. Oh, so it's a great alternative.
Dave Blanks: So where can we find out more information on B.A.D.? Is that what it's called? You said?
Vivienne Taylor: Yeah. B-A-D.
Dave Blanks: Born Again Dirt.
Vivienne Taylor: Yep. I absolutely know they have an Instagram.
Dave Blanks: So much. Good information. Thank you, Vivian. Thank you for your time. All right. You did it. Yay. Thank you very much.
Vivienne Taylor: Totally.
Dave Blanks: Yeah. It wouldn't so bad, right?
Vivienne Taylor: No, I was pretty terrified.
Dave Blanks: No! Don't tell them that.
Speaker 4: Who wants to go next?
Becca Glebus: My name is Becca Glebus. I am a Sustainable Development Major with a minor in Biology.
Dave Blanks: Cool. Are you a Sustainability Ambassador?
Becca Glebus: Yes.
Dave Blanks: Okay. You are.
Becca Glebus: Yes.
Dave Blanks: What is a Sustainability Ambassador?
Becca Glebus: So, to me, a Sustainability Ambassador is someone who does outreach on campus. Try to reach out to the student body and try to tell them how they could live a more sustainable life in their dorms or just around campus. We do the Free Store Roadshow that we do on campus every week.
Dave Blanks: Tell me what that is. Free Store Roadshow?
Becca Glebus: Yeah. So, the Free Store is actually in the back of this office and it has clothes, it has toiletries, it has like crutches sometimes, there's all sorts of stuff and we put it on a rack and we bring it either to Stanford mall or we go in the union and talk about it. Because a lot of people don't know about this office and we just want to advertise it to students to let them know you are not alone, you can come and see us and we will help you out. You know what I mean?
Dave Blanks: Where does this stuff come from?
Becca Glebus: It comes from donations from people all over. People can come and donate.
Dave Blanks: I was going to say, if I wanted to donate something, I would just come to the lowest level of East Hall.
Becca Glebus: Yes. Bottom East Hall, Office Sustainability. There's a bunch of satellite locations all over campus too. So, there's food in there too because we all, it's also attached to a food hub. So, that's another place where people can donate food and then they can come in and get it for free. So, we have this food hub here to let kids know that they can come in here and get as much food as they want as much as they need.
Dave Blanks: It sounds like you're doing some great stuff. Keep it up.
Becca Glebus: I'm trying my best.
Dave Blanks: Congratulations hanging there. You're almost done with school.
Becca Glebus: Thank you. Appreciate it.
Dave Blanks: Cool. Well the best of luck to you.
Becca Glebus: Yes. Thank you. I appreciate that.
Sophia Kirn: I am Sophia Kirn.
Dave Blanks: Sophia Kirn. Okay, cool. Nice to meet you. I'm Dave.
Dave Blanks: Kirn, isn't that like a stack of rocks? Is that what that is? That's a cairn.
Sophia Kirn: Kirn I think means river of clay or something.
Dave Blanks: Oh cool!
Sophia Kirn: And I don't know. I looked it up thinking it was something cool and it basically means mud.
Dave Blanks: River of clay? Your name is mud? Oh my gosh. Sophia.
Dave Blanks: Listen, Sophia, what do you study here at App State?
Sophia Kirn: I am a Biology Major and I'm doing the triple E concentration. So, it's Environment, Ecology and Evolution.
Dave Blanks: Awesome. Cool. So, how are you involved with Office of Sustainability?
Sophia Kirn: I am a Sustainability Ambassador, but I kind of do different stuff. So, I handle a lot of our conferences and then I also handle our Eco-Rep team.
Dave Blanks: So, what is a Eco-Rep?
Sophia Kirn: An Eco-Rep is a position on the Residents Hall Council. So, there's one in each of the dorms on campus and it's usually a freshman that comes to the office and attends meeting and learns about sustainability on campus so they can share that information with other freshmen in their residence halls.
Dave Blanks: So, let's see these people that you're inspiring in teaching, they're your peers. So, what is a way in which you try to... Do you try to influence your peers around you that maybe aren't so sustainability minded and what is a way that you kind of guide them? If they came to you and said, "Sophia, how can I make sustainability a bigger part of my life, like tomorrow?" What would you tell them?
Sophia Kirn: I would say, getting involved with a sustainable minded community. When I first came to Appalachian, I did not know a lot about sustainability. I was not a very sustainable minded person. And through getting involved with sustainable communities, it kind of encourages you. It's almost like peer pressure, but in a good way. It makes it fun, it makes it something that you want to do and want to get involved in because you see the positive impact that the wider community is having with it. So, almost leading by example, but leading by example with a little peer pressure.
Dave Blanks: There you go, Sophia. Thanks for your time. Thanks for your answers. They were awesome.
Dave Blanks: You raised your hand, you were so excited to come talk to me, right?
Griffin Honea: Woo hoo. Yeah, absolutely.
Dave Blanks: So what's your name?
Griffin Honea: Griffin Honea.
Dave Blanks: Griffin. So, you are a Sustainability Ambassador. How long have you done that?
Griffin Honea: I've been doing that since this second semester of my freshman year at App. I'm a junior. So, I guess that makes it three years now.
Dave Blanks: What have you learned over your time as a Sustainability Ambassador?
Griffin Honea: This is going to sound a little shloky. I apologize. But it's really all about collaboration. It's about working with a team to see what you can accomplish. Because one thing I've learned is that when you're trying to do something on your own, it can be really frustrating. It can feel like you're getting nowhere. And a lot of times it'll be because you are, but teamwork really can multiply the effect of your effort. That's true of everything but especially in sustainability, when you're working with a group of like-minded people who are really passionate and fired up about sustainability on our campus. That really sort of opens a lot of doors that wouldn't otherwise be available to you.
Dave Blanks: That's awesome. So, where are you going with the lessons you learned here at App? What part is sustainability going to play in your future after you graduate, do you feel?
Griffin Honea: So, the future that's definitely sort of a big, wide open question right now. I've got a lot of different careers I'm looking into. I'm interested in teaching, mostly teaching in history, because that's my major, but the sustainability and history actually interact in a lot of different ways. There's a environmental history is very much a growing field. One I'm interested in quite a bit.
Dave Blanks: Is that something we have classes on at App?
Griffin Honea: We do actually. In fact, I'm taking a class with a professor right now. It's a class about the history of the Civil War, but he's actually written a book about the environmental history of the Civil War and how that conflict... The environmental impacts that it had. So, you can do a lot with it.
Dave Blanks: I actually listened to a presentation about that with... Tell me his name.
Griffin Honea: Judkin Browning. He's really good.
Dave Blanks: Yes. It was excellent. He's got a great sense of humor and it was really cool seeing that crossover between sustainability and the civil war and the situation that soldiers were put in and... Yeah, that's an interesting intersection of history and sustainability. Well, cool. Nice.
Dave Blanks: Well, so Griffin, what's one of your favorite ways that you feel like sustainability is playing a part in your everyday life right now? Something that maybe you look to you're proud of, you're glad you do this.
Griffin Honea: So, on top of being a Sustainability Ambassador, I'm also a part of our Solar Vehicle Team. I'm just on our business team. I can't claim to understand all of the science that goes into engineering and building the cars, I just help promote the thing. But it's been such a cool experience to be a part of that. I went out on the race we went on last summer. I'm planning to go out on the one we're headed to this summer as well.
Dave Blanks: Hey, nice. Thanks for your contributions to the Solar Vehicle Team and to the sustainability at large here at App State. Thanks for your time, Griffin.
Griffin Honea: Oh yeah, absolutely. Thank you.
Dave Blanks: Megan. Thanks for coming. Your name is Megan...?
Megan Ward: Ward.
Dave Blanks: What is a way Megan, that you feel like is one of your favorite ways that you make sustainability a part of your everyday life?
Megan Ward: Honestly, I'd say my favorite one. This is a pretty simple, basic one, is I take the bus everywhere I go. I love public transportation. I think anyone that's able to like bike or take the bus or reduce their single car use is one of the best ways you can be sustainable, especially on campus.
Dave Blanks: So, I've never been a person that took advantage of public transit. I'm slightly intimidated by it.
Megan Ward: I am too.
Dave Blanks: You are too? But you use it.
Megan Ward: I get over my fear.
Dave Blanks: You're facing your fear. So, did you grow up with it?
Megan Ward: No, that's the thing is, when I was in middle school and high school, I lived in a county that didn't have a bus system for our school, so I never got to take advantage of it.
Dave Blanks: Wait, your school didn't have a bus system?
Megan Ward: It didn't come to where I lived. I was kind of out of the district.
Dave Blanks: You were in the boonies?
Megan Ward: Yeah, I was.
Dave Blanks: You were rural.
Megan Ward: Yeah. I was in the farms.
Dave Blanks: You didn't ride your bike either?
Megan Ward: No, [crosstalk 00:11:52].
Dave Blanks: You slacker. [Crosstalk 00:11:53] You could have committed.
Megan Ward: I know. That's why now that I'm here, I'm like, no more.
Dave Blanks: Oh, you're like making up for this time.
Megan Ward: Yeah. I'm trying to redeem myself.
Dave Blanks: Well cool. So, you didn't grow up with it, but what's a tip for somebody who maybe is self-conscious about that or wants to do it, but is like a little intimidated?
Megan Ward: Go with your friends and you can sit together.
Dave Blanks: Buddy system.
Megan Ward: You can listen to music. I usually put my headphones in. It's really not that bad. Nobody talks to each other. So, I mean, there's different routes with different people, but it's mainly just students too, so it's safe.
Dave Blanks: Hey Megan, thanks for your time. Thanks for your answers. I really appreciate you.
Megan Ward: Thank you.
Dave Blanks: Thank you.
Alexis Gillikin: I mean, I just started, but I [crosstalk 00:12:29].
Dave Blanks: Come on. Yeah. You'll be perfect [crosstalk 00:12:31].
Alexis Gillikin: I'm Alexis Gillikin.
Dave Blanks: Okay, cool. Alexis, it's nice to meet you. I'm Dave.
Alexis Gillikin: Nice to meet you.
Dave Blanks: So, you just transferred here?
Alexis Gillikin: Yes, from Clemson.
Dave Blanks: Nice. Well, welcome to Appalachian State. So, how long have you been here then?
Alexis Gillikin: I just started in January.
Dave Blanks: Okay. So, what were you doing at the meeting?
Alexis Gillikin: So, I'm a Sustainability Ambassador. I just applied, just as a way to meet people. And it's a passion of mine, but not something I necessarily want to do as a career, but I just think it's an important thing to get involved in no matter what.
Dave Blanks: Cool. What is a way that you incorporate sustainability in your life currently? Is it a part of the way you live your life? What's one of your favorite ways it plays a part in your day to day?
Alexis Gillikin: Just the way I started out was I was just started only shopping sustainably. So, secondhand clothing or little things, just bringing reusable bags to the grocery store. It's really rewarding. You feel like you've done something with your life.
Dave Blanks: Yeah. So, what would you say to peers about how they can make a difference and why they should.
Alexis Gillikin: I'd say just being aware and knowing how much you take, it comes from something and just to be aware of what you consume, how it's made and how it got to you.
Dave Blanks: Thanks for your time and thanks for your answers and good luck at App State. I'm glad you're here.
Alexis Gillikin: Thank you.
Dave Blanks: Yeah. All right. Well, I've talked to a lot of students. Why don't I next talk to an actual full-time staff member of Appalachian State University. Here's one here.
Rebecca Walton: I'm Rebecca Walton.
Dave Blanks: Hey Rebecca Walton. So, what's your position here at App?
Rebecca Walton: So, I am the Sustainability Outreach Director in the Office of Sustainability.
Dave Blanks: Cool. So, you are over the... There's so many ambassadors, there's renewable energy ambassadors, there are Sustainability Ambassadors, there are Eco-Reps, there are...
Rebecca Walton: Zero waste ambassador.
Dave Blanks: Darn it. I was going to get that one. There's zero waste ambassadors. There's so many ways to get involved in sustainability on campus. So, it's Earth Month. We have a lot of events going on. How frequently?
Rebecca Walton: Almost every day we have events celebrating Earth Month.
Dave Blanks: So, where can I find these events?
Rebecca Walton: Info about our calendar events for Earth Month will be on our media platform, Sustain App as well as our website as well.
Dave Blanks: Awesome. Thank you so much, Rebecca. I really appreciate your time. And you got some awesome students that you get to work with. They're super cool. Super motivated, very inspirational people. So, keep on doing what you do. Thank you for your time.
Dave Blanks: Well, that was awesome. Thanks so much to everyone who let me talk to them. Thanks to all the many, many ambassadors that I spoke to. Everybody in sustainability is always super cool. If you want to get involved with sustainability, it's not hard to find out how to do that. Go online to their website, which is sustain.appstate.edu. You can also get information about all the Earth Month events that are going on there. Once again, sustain.appstate.edu, check it out.
Dave Blanks: I'm Dave Blanks. And this has been Dave by the Bell.
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About Appalachian State University
As the premier public undergraduate institution in the Southeast, Appalachian State University prepares students to lead purposeful lives. App State is one of 17 campuses in the University of North Carolina System, with a national reputation for innovative teaching and opening access to a high-quality, affordable education for all. The university enrolls more than 21,000 students, has a low student-to-faculty ratio and offers more than 150 undergraduate and 80 graduate majors at its Boone and Hickory campuses and through App State Online. Learn more at https://www.appstate.edu.