Some student organizations at Mercer University have recently been promoting environmental sustainability on campus. The groups most involved in the shift have been the Green Committee and the Green Coalition.
The Green Committee is a branch of the Student Government Association (SGA), led by Sophomore Class President Jadon Murad. They’ve been a part of Mercer’s work with new initiatives to create change on campus: supporting the Wolf Creek Landfill through a new partnership with UCapture.
“Wolf Creek is a 2,800 kilowatt landfill gas-to-energy project that provides an environmental benefit equal to removing 22,700 passenger vehicles from the road,” Murad said. “Additionally, the project provides enough electricity to power 1,650 homes.”
The landfill, located in neighboring Twiggs County, “removes potentially harmful greenhouse gases from the atmosphere while, at the same time producing useful electric power for Georgia residents,” according to Green Power EMC, one of the renewable energy companies that purchases power output from the landfill.
Mercer students support the landfill by downloading UCapture, a Google Chrome extension that helps fund environmental programs when users shop online.
The partnership between Mercer and UCapture was announced during a January SGA meeting when representative Rebecca Romp said that online retailers partnering with UCapture agree to donate some of the money spent by extension users to environmental advocacy projects across the globe.
“This app is a really good way to get students involved, it’s a great way to get the administration involved,” Romp said.
Murad said UCapture has been successful on Mercer’s campus so far.
“I believe that with the planned efforts to expand its presence on campus, UCapture will allow Mercer to be even more sustainable,” he said.
The Green Coalition, another student organization, also works to make Mercer and the surrounding Macon area “greener.” It’s made up of the Green Committee, Greener Mercer, student service programming board MerServe and the Residence Hall Association (RHA).
They’ve hosted the first Green Week on campus held in April 2018, during which they hosted several events focused on sustainability, including a lecture, a K-Cup drive and a fundraiser for Polar Bears International.
“Students and faculty loved [the K-Cup drive] and asked if we would make it a yearly thing,” said Tianna Ross, president of Greener Mercer. “We will definitely be doing it for Earth Day again this year.”
She said the Green Coalition plans to put on a series of workshops this semester to teach students how to reuse items in creative ways.
The group also established more access to recycling by setting up recycling bins in front of Mercer Hall and Dowell Hall throughout the week. Additionally, they held a plastic bag drive in January in the Connell Student Center.
“Because of how successful it was, we plan to continue this program in the future,” said Murad, who is involved in both groups.
The Green Coalition held a movie screening of the film “Bag It,” a documentary on how to reduce plastic use, in January.
“Unfortunately, there was a low attendance,” Murad said. “We plan to host similar movie showings, but to be more conscious about what movie to show, different marketing strategies and other factors that may affect its success.”