Former ASCSU Deputy Director of Environmental Affairs Sam Block was approved Wednesday night as the new ASCSU director of environmental affairs. She sat down with The Collegian on Friday to discuss her goals and expectations for sustainability on campus and in the Fort Collins community. Block is a junior at CSU studying natural resource management.
How do you define your new position as ASCSU Director of Environmental Affairs?
I would define it as probably a two part mission, the first being that the purpose of the position is to represent students and be the student voice regarding sustainability issues among administration and faculty members. The second part is to educate students on sustainability issues that are going on throughout both the CSU community and the Fort Collins community.
Why do you want to be involved with the Environmental Affairs department at ASCSU?
I really wanted to get involved with ASCSU and student body government and I am extremely passionate about sustainability issues. I felt like it was a good fit for me and also just the fact that I really care about sustainability issues on campus and I wanted to be a part of the initiatives.
What did you work on as Deputy Director of Environmental Affairs that you plan to continue as director?
Last year I did a lot of Earth week events in april regarding several different things. I did some different waste reduction campus events, l also did a lot with alternative transportation. I was involved in coordinating and planning the Rams Horn bus and the other Transfort extensions that just came into effect this year. So I was out talking to students to see if these were things they wanted.
I also started working on the bike plan last year, so I went out last year and talked to students a lot to see what changes they wanted to see made on campus through the bike plan. The bike plan is a strategic master plan for CSU regarding biking infrastructure.
I am in the process of planning a big event called Winter Bike to Work Day which will be December tenth that I’ve been working on. That’s a city-wide biking event to encourage biking in the winter.
What other initiatives are you planning on taking this year?
I really enjoy working in the field of behavioral changes, which probably is the hardest thing to change. There are some things you can change sustainability wise but behavior changes with students, faculty and staff I believe is the way we can make the biggest impact. I have a couple ideas for making a difference and tackling some behavioral changes, such as waste reduction. Our biggest waste component on campus is our coffee cups.
Along with waste reduction I would like to target off campus students who grocery shop to reduce plastic use. So I would like to give out free re-useable grocery bags to students at grocery stores.
Also, for right now I would like to focus on ASCSU, making ASCSU members more aware of their energy impacts. So things such as turning off your computer monitor when you’re not in the office. Thats something that I would like to start here and spread to other offices throughout campus.
How do you plan to expand the Environmental Affairs department?
I plan on hiring a couple more assistants because I would like more help with these goals. That’s one way I think we can tackle more things at once and have more of an impact on campus.
How will you work with the City of Fort Collins as the student voice for sustainability?
For a while last year I sat on the bike share committee. I was the student voice in that about possibly bringing bike share to Fort Collins and CSU. It’s probably coming in the next two years to Fort Collins. So thats what I’ve been working on, I’d like to see stations on campus for students who don’t have bikes.
What efforts do you plan on coordinating to make ASCSU more sustainable?
I am looking into possibly working with other departments to have their events be zero-waste events. It’s pretty hard to get an event to be zero-waste, but I think the most important thing is just making sure that we’re as sustainable as possible. So, for instance, with printing that would mean using less ink and as little paper as we can, while using more electronic marketing and social media marketing.
How will you be working with the University to promote and expand their goals and initiatives on sustainability?
One of the biggest goals of CSU is our climate action plan, which proposes in the next 50 years going to reduce our carbon emissions and become carbon neutral. So thats something I will be aiding in as I will sit on one of the climate action committees.
CSU is also working towards less waste on campus, which we (ASCSU) are already working towards.
Our campus is moving towards more buildings, so that probably means less close parking. So with that I plan to just work on trying to decrease the number of single occupancy vehicles, and just making it more convenient for students to decrease their carbon emissions.
Collegian ASCSU Beat Reporter Jonathan Matheny can be reached online at firstname.lastname@example.org or on twitter @jonathanmathen2