Journalism Student Brings Ivory Tower to Ground Level with Green Collaboration and Action
As Jessicca Lucier pursues her masters degree in environmental journalism at Colorado University, she is trying to stay active and involved on campus and at the Environmental Center to help green the campus as much as possible. Mostly, she helps out with communications, so she authored the school's climate action plan, helps plan the Colorado satellite Bioneers conference, which is coming up on its seventh year in October, and helped to organize last year's Rocky Mountain Sustainability Summit. The summit hosted speakers like environmental justice/clean energy advocate Jerome Ringo and author Richard Preston, and brought in 500 participants and representation from more than 30 campuses in the Rocky Mountain region and beyond.
Boulder may be ahead of the game in terms of environmental action, but Jessica says they still have a long way to go. CU volunteered to comply with Governor Bill Ritter's statewide green initiatives and has pledged to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2012 and again by 2020.
Lucier has taken part in campus zero waste events, including Ralphie's Green Stampede, which seeks to eliminate waste from the football stadium. She said that during games, goalies stand in front of receptacles and inform people where to distribute their waste. At the end of each game, volunteers go through every single bin, to ensure items are in their proper place.
Volunteers? Really? "We make it really fun," she said. "It's a great group of volunteers that come in?and everyone's just there to get down and dirty. It's not the ideal model, but at the end of it, you feel pretty great." She's also helped galvanize students to vote for the student bus pass, which is now a mandatory student fee that helps students use public transit. And a lot do?almost 90 percent of students take the bus, walk, or bike to school. On an average day, she said about 26 percent of students come by bike, a trend that is encouraged by the presence of a bike station on campus where students can leave their bikes, or have them worked on.
Environmental Action: Starts With Self-Education
Jessica enjoys being active on campus?it's "interesting to reach out to different departments, different disciplines. A lot of people really cared... and you feel at the end, 'Regardless of how small, I made some sort of contribution.'" She took a science policy class in the spring and will be taking a nuclear waste class in the fall?her feelings on nuclear energy are still out, she says, but wants to learn more about it regardless of her personal stance. Developing an understanding of environmental issues is important to be able to write about them.
As a single mother, Jessicca has her hands full. But she brings the green mentality into her home as well: her three-year-old son already knows what to compost and what to recycle. They have a garden and grow a lot of their own food. "He sees that, and that's going to be normal to him."