For our sustainability-themed week, we interviewed Ashley Aupperle, a senior environmental science major who is an integral part of the sustainability movement at Siena. Read more to find out about Ashley and sustainability at Siena!
Her Campus Siena: Thanks for sitting down with us! Let’s start with the basics. What positions do you hold on campus?
Ashley Aupperle: I have been working as the Sustainability Scholar under the Siena Sustainability Steering Committee for almost two years. I am also the Vice President of Best Buddies!
HCS: For those of us that are unfamiliar with the term, what is sustainability?
AA: Sustainability doesn’t have a really clear-cut definition, but I like to look at it as living in a way that meets the current environmental, social and economic needs of all people while protecting resources for future generations as well.
HCS: How did you get involved in the sustainability initiative on campus?
AA: A few years ago, a professor reached out to me when I was looking for a summer research position and suggested I apply to be the first Sustainability Scholar for the Sustainability Steering Committee. I was hired, and have been working for the committee ever since. I really enjoy working with some very dedicated professors, faculty and staff on campus who are trying to make Siena more green.
HCS: What are some of the sustainability initiatives you’ve been working on? Which one is your favorite?
AA: Over the past few years, I have been working on different projects to reduce the overall waste being produced on campus and increase the understanding and transparency of sustainability at Siena. I have been working on a variety of project including increased outreach through a website (Sustainability@Siena), social media, and Sustainability Reports for campus. My favorite projects have been starting a composting program in Lonnstrom and Massry Dining halls and Project Milkweed, which has been spreading milkweed seeds to Wetland areas on campus to increase habitat for native pollinators. I’d like to give a shoutout to Eileen and Maria who have helped with some other cool sustainability projects, like setting up a reusable cup policy with Casey’s and a Guide to Sustainability at Siena!
HCS: Those all sound great! How can students at Siena take steps to become more sustainable?
AA: Honestly, every small decision an individual makes a huge difference in terms of sustainability. By printing double-sided, using a refillable water bottle on campus, recycling papers and plastics, and even just turning off lights when not in use, you can save tons of energy and resources that are easily taken for granted. In the dining halls, only take the food you plan on eating-even though you “paid for it”, food thrown away in the trash is a huge contributor to climate change as it breaks down in landfills. Also, bringing your own mug to Casey’s for a coffee not only limits your personal consumption of single-use plastics, but also saves you 10% on the cost of regular coffee/tea drinks!
HCS: Thanks for sharing your knowledge about sustainability with us. Anything else you would like to add about sustainability?
AA: The thought of being “sustainable” can be daunting to many people — but it shouldn’t be! Start by taking small steps like bringing your own water bottle to class instead of buying one, or bringing reusable bags with you grocery shopping. If you remember to bring a reusable cup with you to Casey’s three times a week, you would be saving more than 35 plastic cups from being sent to a landfill in a single semester. If even 100 students brought their own cup to Casey’s three times a week, Siena would decrease the number of plastic cups being sent to a landfill by 3,500. These little actions become habits and you’ll be able to drastically reduce your impact on the planet!
Check out the website or follow SCSustainability on Instagram and Twitter to stay up to date on sustainability projects at Siena!