Environmental Sustainability Committee on Campus

Monday, August 24, 2015
Written by:
picture of Morgan Battes
picture of Morgan Battes
Name: Morgan Battes
Academic Year: Junior
Major: Natural Resources and Environmental Economics
From: Shawnee, Kansas

This year, Battes will be the chairperson of Environmental Sustainability Committee. In the past, Battes has been involved in ASUN’s sustainability efforts through her project “Greeks Going Green.”

What motivated you to be a professional in this field?

I have a strong passion for sustainability and believe that through simple actions, people have the potential to make an immense impact. I am majoring in Natural Resources and Environmental Economics here at UNL, with the hope that I can learn as much as I can about the issues and find applicable and obtainable solutions.

What is your role in UNL’s environmental sustainability efforts?

I have been actively involved in sustainability at UNL since I came to the university as a freshman in the fall of 2013. I was accepted into the Environmental Leadership Program (ELP) that fall, and worked throughout the year to develop my leadership skills and knowledge of sustainability issues. My sophomore year, I was selected as the ELP Associate Director where I worked extensively with freshman and sophomores in the program. Last year, I was also a member of the Environmental Sustainability Committee (ESC), which is an executive committee of ASUN. As a member, I worked to develop and implement Greeks Going Green, which essentially has been an effort to engage Greek houses in sustainability issues and efforts. This upcoming year, I will serve as the ESC chair, and will ultimately be responsible for all student led sustainability initiatives on campus.

What is your favorite sustainable thing to do?

As simple as it may sound, I think recycling is one of the main ways I contribute to sustainable living each day. I recycle far more than I throw away, and encourage everyone around me to do the same. I think this is one of the easiest ways to make a tremendous impact.

Do you regularly recycle, compost, and use water-saving techniques at home?

As far as the question about recycling, composting, and water saving techniques at home, I'm not sure how best to answer. I lived at home with my parents during a recent summer and while we do not compost, we recycle everything that can be recycled and our home is newer, so we have many water and energy saving features like efficient hot water heaters and furnaces and upgraded insulation. However, in Lincoln I live in my sorority house which is over 100 years old and does not have the most environmentally sound features. We have recycling, but that is about as far as it goes. My project with ESC last year was called "Greeks Going Green." It was an initiative to involve the Greek houses on campus in sustainability efforts and improving their environmental impact. It was fairly successful, but there is still a lot of room for growth.

If someone were to ask you about a sustainability tip or tips related to your profession what would that be?

I thoroughly believe that we can make a huge impact through very simple actions. I have found that people are very willing to practice sustainable living -- it is simply about making it accessible and convenient for them. Common actions that make a huge difference are recycling, turning off lights, devices and appliances when you leave a room, and turning off water while you brush your teeth.

 How can the UNL community help you in your role?

It's really about people embracing the projects and initiatives that we are working on as a committee. Everything that we do is ultimately to better the university, its students, and surrounding community, so it is very important that we have support -- whether it be a student volunteering to be an Eco Rep in their dorm or Greek house, or as simple as attending our Sustainability Roundtable or EarthStock events. GreenUNL is also a fantastic resource that we use to promote our events and initiatives going on throughout campus and the community.

What message do you have for the community?

I would love to say thank you to everyone who has supported our efforts thus far. As I said earlier, everything that we do as a committee is ultimately an effort to benefit our UNL community, so your interest in and support of the projects we work on are always welcomed and appreciated.