The Center for a Sustainable Society (CSS) exists to create opportunities around sustainability on campus. It is also a space for students to work on proposals or research projects of their own.
Michelle Larkins is the director for the CSS, as well as a professor at Pacific University. As a part of her role managing this department, she works with B Street Farms, and connects the farms work to campus.
“I work to get the food grown at the farm to be served inside the U.C.,” Larkins said. A large part of her job also involves working with the Forest Grove Sustainability Commission and attempting to get students involved in the community.
B Street Farms serves as a site to provide information about environmentally sustainable agricultural practices for Pacific students, area residents and other local schools.
The CSS has a lot planned in terms of events for the upcoming semester. There is a eight week reduc-athon in the works with dining services to monitor plastic in the University Center, and a waste sort planned for the first week of April.
Last year, the CSS discovered that during the average academic year Pacific throws away 8,000 pounds of the Starbucks cups and lids.
“We are really trying to do some work around reusable mugs,” Larkins said. “There is a great resource called the mug library that students can utilize.”
The mug library sits right outside of the P.O.D. Market and Starbucks. Students can pick up a clean mug, fill with coffee, get a discount and then drop off the mug to be washed and offered to the next user.
Larkins does a lot of work with the Boxer Food Share as well, to reducing food insecurity on campus. The food share is a resource that provides food for students, faculty and staff in need.
The CSS currently has composting programs in two residence halls, Gilbert and Burlingham, and is looking to expand to the Vandervelden apartments.
The university recently participated in an audit that lets us benchmark against other schools in the United States to see where we stand in terms of our relationship to sustainability. The results from the audit are coming out this spring, and Larkins advises students to be on the lookout for those.