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  • Genevieve Fontana

Genevieve Fontana’s sustaining impact on the Canisius Community

By: Genevieve Fontana, Contributor

Dear Canisius University,

It has been an immense privilege to serve you and our community as the Sustainability Chair for our Undergraduate Student Association. Reflecting on the past two years fills me with great pride in the strides we’ve taken as a University towards a more sustainable future. Witnessing the collective efforts across campus departments to embrace Earth-friendly practices has been truly inspiring.

My primary aim over this past year has been to foster connections across campus, pooling our efforts to distribute the responsibility of sustainability more evenly. While the challenges posed by the climate crisis can seem overwhelming, observing the collective determination within our university and its partnership with the Buffalo community instills a sense of hope. Each individual brings expertise to the table, and what has been particularly gratifying is not only delving into the scientific aspects but also adopting a business-minded approach to become more aware of the value of our dollar.

As Earth Week draws to a close, I find myself reflecting on the significant milestones we've achieved as an Earth-conscious community. As a committee, we've successfully phased out plastic bag usage at Iggy’s, supported pollinator garden projects across campus, organized numerous community cleanups, inaugurated a thrift store, facilitated the use of reusable cups at campus retail outlets, collaborated with community garden initiatives, raised awareness about the significance of supporting local businesses, provided opportunities to try plant-based food options, partnered with campus clubs for engaging upcycling projects and the list goes on.

Yet, our journey as an institution towards sustainability is far from complete. In preparation for my departure and listening to your feedback. I've compiled feedback aimed at furthering our sustainability agenda and eagerly anticipate witnessing how these suggestions will be implemented in the years ahead:

Encourage Easy Sustainability:

Simplify recycling processes for students.

Establish convenient reverse logistics for recycling.

Implement composting programs.

Increase awareness of initiatives like solar fields.

Promote Sustainable Practices:

Infuse sustainability into campus culture.

Incorporate eco-friendly habits into daily life.

Foster community trust in initiatives such as the East-West Community Garden.

Support the Clean Mobility Project for eco-friendly transportation options.

Enhance Campus Facilities:

Install refillable water stations in all buildings.

Make sustainable practices visible throughout the university.

Convert unused land into natural habitats like meadowlands.

Provide more opportunities for students to cultivate lifelong eco-friendly habits.

Phase out single-use plastics in vending machines, following the example set by SUNY.

Implement bird-friendly window treatments.

Continuous Progress:

Focus on one or two sustainability goals annually.

Ensure sustainability considerations are integrated into policy reviews and long-term planning.

Support student-driven initiatives.

Leadership and Collaboration:

Appoint a director of sustainability to lead initiatives.

Support initiatives aligned with the Laudato Si’ platform.

Recognize leadership efforts in sustainability.

Encourage sustainable choices and minimize paper usage through incentives.

Education and Community Building:

Educate the Canisius population on recycling and composting.

Cultivate a community among those passionate about sustainability.

Promote awareness and action, such as endorsing sustainable commitments and reducing single-use plastic bottle consumption.

I am profoundly grateful for the opportunity and trust bestowed upon me by the university to spearhead these initiatives. I pledge my ongoing support to Canisius in furthering these endeavors. To all readers, I urge you to do your best and advocate for a sustainable future. We hold the power to nurture and protect our planet for generations to come.

Warm regards,

Genevieve Fontana

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