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Eastern Students Recognized for Sustainability Initiative

Published on March 18, 2015

Eastern Students Recognized for Sustainability Initiative

Eastern Connecticut State University was one of 87 colleges nationwide to receive a Student Actions Award for the fall 2014 semester from myActions—an organization that mobilizes college students to partake in sustainable behaviors. This achievement was possible due to sophomore Lauren Polansky, a myActions intern who took the lead in spreading the word about myActions throughout Eastern’s campus.

While environmentally friendly practices such as recycling and turning the lights off are commonplace at Eastern, myActions aims to increase awareness and rates of sustainability by having students share their actions through its online, social media-influenced platform. “It’s all about getting the word out,” said Polansky, an environmental earth science student. “Sharing actions causes a chain reaction of sustainable actions.”

MyActions categorizes sustainable activity into four areas: saving energy, using less, helping others and living well—each of which has money-saving and carbon footprint-reducing side effects. “The goal is to expand people’s knowledge of sustainable actions and get them in the habit of making these small acts, which has a ripple effect,” said Polansky.

Common actions reported by Eastern students during the fall semester included using reusable water bottles, eating vegetarian meals, turning the water off when brushing one’s teeth, unplugging appliances and using the stairs instead of elevators. “It doesn’t take huge actions to make a difference,” said Polansky.   Based out of Cincinnati, OH, myActions reached out to Eastern because of its “green college” designation by the U.S. Green Building Council. Polansky became Eastern’s first myActions intern. Her internship will conclude this April, but if possible, she would like to continue to be myActions’ spokesperson on Eastern’s campus until she graduates in 2017. “I had no idea about this opportunity, but it’s right up my alley,” she said. “I’ve always been interested in sustainability, but had no way to track progress or impact, but with myActions you can see who’s involved and what they’re doing.”

Written by Michael Rouleau