Sustainability commissioner to focus on student housing, water use

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Jake Jacobs, the next academic year’s commissioner of sustainability affairs for Associated Students, hopes to raise awareness and increase sustainability efforts for on-campus housing during his term. Photo credit: George Johnston

Jake Jacobs, an environmental science major, has plans to instill positive change on campus as the new commissioner of sustainability affairs.

As an active member of Freshman Leadership Opportunity as well as Community Action Volunteers in Education Special Pals program, he is experienced in handling important campus affairs.

 

 

As director, it is Jacobs’ goal to promote environmental responsibility, as well as to raise awareness through education. With plans to increase the number of on-campus peer educators within student housing that promote sustainability, Jacobs strives to be a strong voice and a liaison for the students.

“Sustainability is not a single answer, but rather taking a multitude of the best ideas and resources around while developing them into a collaborative program or policy,” Jacobs said.

In addition to plans to increase the environmental education of incoming first-years, Jacobs also plans to inspire students to be cautious of limited resources, habitat conservations and restoration.

To do this, a program will be implemented to monitor, record and expand current sustainable efforts within on-campus housing.

However, first-years aren’t the only students Jacobs hopes to reach. Plans to promote reusable water bottles and refilling stations will be more prevalent around campus for all students next semester.

“The reduction of single-use water bottles on campus is a very important issue in our society,” Jacobs said.

In another effort to reduce water use, Jacobs plans to implement low-flow toilets in A.S. buildings.

Increased collaboration efforts will be incorporated into next year’s sustainability plans between pre-existing organizations, clubs, committees and the Institute of Sustainable Development.

Along with students already involved in sustainability on campus, Jacobs strives to increase diversity in the community. By doing so, he plans to foster a community of interdependence, inclusiveness and an environment of creativity that students can use toward furthering sustainability efforts on campus.

 

“Sustainability is not only my passion,” Jacobs said. “But I believe it is a lifestyle — one of which I hope to be a part of.”

In light of the drought in California, Jacobs makes efforts to conserve water with measures such as shorter showers, turning off the faucet while brushing his teeth or shaving, using a low-flow shower head, using full laundry loads, and even going as far as placing a bucket in the shower to collect extra water run off as the water gets warm.

One minute in the shower is equivalent to 12 bottles of water, Jacobs said.

Incorporating sustainability can start at home, and Jacobs does this by utilizing his compost pile, recycling and purchasing locally grown products.

“The greatest threat to our planet is the belief that someone else will save it,” Jacobs said, quoting Robert Swan.

Elaine Knudsen can be reached at [email protected] or @theorion_news on Twitter.