Students collaborate to create first ‘PSU Campus-Community Green Guide’

Special to the Morning Sun / news@morningsun.net

PITTSBURG, Kan. — Students in the Department of Communication at Pittsburg State University have been working to develop the first “PSU Campus-Community Green Guide” with input from the Pittsburg business community and the Pittsburg Area Chamber of Commerce.

“The guide will be a tool to increase awareness of the ‘green’ community within our region and efforts here at Pitt State,” project leader Emily Ruble, a senior from Independence, Kansas, said in a press release.

Using a grant provided by the PSU Student Sustainability Fee Council, she and her classmates in Alicia Mason’s Strategic Communication class will make the guide available to future incoming students and the public through the university’s sustainability webpage starting this fall.

Trends show such a guide is important to consumers and employees, according to PSU. 80 percent of them report considering a company’s environmental and social commitment before making a purchase and 79 percent of hiring prospects look for companies with positive environmental credentials when seeking new employment, the university said in its release.

The guide will highlight local businesses that engage in sustainability-focused or socially responsible business practices — for example, those that locally source supplies and materials, or are responsible with regard to energy, waste, and water — and that responded to the group’s request. 

The guide also will create awareness about the university’s sustainability initiatives and behaviors.

“Sustainability is really Pitt State’s best kept secret,” Ruble said. “You look at grounds keeping and how at the stadium parking lot, the overflow water goes into the watering system. The campus is heated with steam instead of fossil fuels. There is campus-wide recycling and the buildings have motion-sensor lights. And there are ways for students to get involved through Students 4 Sustainability. It’s all-encompassing.”

In the community, Ruble points to local businesses like TOAST restaurant, which buys local produce and local eggs and uses vegetable scraps to create stock for soups, and second-hand shops that sell gently used clothing and other items.

Ruble noted that the project aligns with the university’s 2018-22 strategic plan and continued focus on sustainability. 

“We want to get word out, and at the same time we want to inspire others to look at their own practices and maybe improve,” she said.

She and her team members, which include Emmerson Tice (publicity), Nicholas DellaCamera (writing/print production), Lucas Allen (print production), and Bailey Kenny (client relations), also see the project as a valuable hands-on learning experience, according to the release.