Students walking by the Center for Environmental Life Sciences (CELS) building on Friday were greeted with more than just breezy weather and sunny skies. The PSEG Institute for Sustainability Studies (PSEGISS) put on the Point of Intervention (POI) tour for students to take a trip and learn more about different sustainable initiatives.
The Post Landfill Action Network (PLAN) puts on this annual POI tour to raise awareness about sustainability on college campuses around the nation. At Montclair State University, the theme for this tour was “Passport for Sustainability.”
Different “countries” represented specific topics regarding sustainability, like donations and current issues. Ambassadors from places like Goodwill, Toni’s Kitchen and the Americorps New Jersey Watershed Ambassadors Program spoke about ways to contribute to a more environmentally friendly lifestyle.
PLAN Tour Coordinator Ansley Pope explained the linear waste process of how people tend to produce products by using them once and then throwing them away. He mentioned alternatives and how students can prevent more of this process.
“Everything from resisting pipelines, to redesigning products, to getting out and voting,” Pope said. “There’s a way in which everyone can shift and challenge this system.”
Pope was in a booth that held a repair station with various colors of thread as well as needles. Students could create their own repair kit for when their clothes rip. Instead of throwing them away, Pope encouraged students to fix them with thread, needles and even patches.
Pope encouraged students to visit countries on the POI tour and join in on their passions of contributing to a sustainability commitment.
“What we’re trying to promote with all of these different countries is that no one person can fix this system by themselves,” Pope said. “Collectively and together, nobody can do everything, but everyone can do something.”
Many organizations were present on the tour, including Goodwill, FoamCycle and Montclair Animal Activists Club. PSEGISS Community Engagement Ambassador Heather Francis was part of the team that planned the POI tour.
“This is a collaborative effort between other ambassadors, and it is to showcase sustainability issues and talk about waste on campus,” said Francis, a senior international justice major with minors in environmental justice and nutrition. “Our campus community, I feel like, needs to be more engaged in climate change and sustainability issues.”
Montclair Animal Activists Club President Emily Klesitz had a booth set up to inform students of how to be more sustainable in the food products they consume.
“We’re participating in this event because what we eat in terms of animal products has a really big effect on the environment,” Klesitz said. “Typically eating meat and fish in most cases is not a sustainable way to eat.”
Klesitz stressed the importance of doing research and learning about the impact our population has on the Earth.
“We need to start being smarter about how we eat, how we produce and how we dispose of waste or else we’re not going to have a planet soon enough,” Klesitz said.
QR codes were placed on each country’s “flag” for students to scan and submit their names. Once they attended all five countries, they were allowed to pick from a table of prizes, which included reusable straws, metal chopsticks, pencils made from recycled products and even chocolate.
Students, like junior theater studies major Jane Baduini, crowded around the booths in front of CELS because of the many prizes and giveaways.
“It’s a wonderful thing to bring awareness to the environment because we only have one planet so we’ve got to take care of it,” Baduini said.
Baduini’s favorite part of the event was knowing some booths were giving away free reusable straws because her and her friends “love to save the turtles.”
Francis believes the campus community was receptive and the event went really well.
“Students care about this kind of stuff,” Francis said. “Having it on campus, I think showing the awareness, more people will care about it.”