EcoReps spread mission of sustainability with No Impact Week

Sustainability. We all know what it means, but when do we see it in action on campus? EcoReps put this into action by introducing and challenging people to live a sustainable life through the fifth annual No Impact Week Nov. 2-7.

The name comes from the book, “No Impact Man,” which was used for UofSC’s First-Year Reading Experience in 2010. The main character Colin Beavan attempts to make zero impact on the environment for one year. Beavan does this by swearing off plastics and toxins, turning off his electricity, going organic and more.

The week is dedicated to making personal challenges to live a low – or no – impact life.

“This week is meant to give everyone a taste of that experience Beavan went through as a good introduction for living a sustainable life,” said Alia McAdams, graduate assistant EcoRep program coordinator. McAdams works with the EcoReps to promote environmental sustainability around campus by having a hand in running and facilitating the program.

One of the values McAdams highlights for No Impact Week is the education about sustainability. “Everything that you consume is a vote either for or against the environment,” McAdams said. She credits EcoReps for spreading this mission of sustainability.

EcoReps are peer leaders who seek to inform students on environmental issues through interactive events. They work with Sustainable Carolina through hall governments to share ways of making environmentally friendly changes on campus that can lead to a sustainable life.

No Impact Week is one of the biggest events the EcoReps put on. Students can participate by signing up to receive daily eco-challenges with tips for completing them and reminders of weeklong events. The daily themes are:

  • Monday – Reduce your consumption and buy nothing new
  • Tuesday – Make no trash
  • Wednesday- Eat local and organic food
  • Thursday – Reduce your energy and water use
  • Friday – Take sustainable transportation
  • Saturday – Give back to the community

Everyday there’s a special event that goes along with each theme. One popular event is the Reclaimed Runway fashion show. The event in its third year will be held Tuesday, Nov. 3 at 7 p.m. in the Russell House Ballroom. Participants in the show create designs from recycled and/or upcycled materials to be modeled by students. The event is a collaboration between Sustainable Carolina, Fashion Board and EcoReps.

“Our mission for this week is to encourage people to try new things and be sustainable,” said Veronica Farrell, fourth-year environmental student and EcoRep executive member. Farrell sees No Impact Week as a way to slowly ease people into creating new habits that are good for the environment.

Farrell – who is in her third year as an EcoRep, is looking forward to the Weigh Your Waste event because students can weigh their plates at the end of their meal to see how much food they throw away.

The beginning of the week is about educating people about sustainability through an interactive experience, and the end of the week switches gears to focus on community service.

“All of these events are individual with people choosing what to do, so we like to end the week to bring focus on the community and how we’re all connected and the value of giving our time,” Farrell said.

No Impact Week is full of other engaging events like a tap water challenge, lightbulb swap and waste sort. EcoReps will be kicking off the weeklong event Monday, Nov. 2 from 11 – 2 p.m. on Greene Street.

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