There are two organizations and one engineering program on campus that actively work to help the University of Louisiana at Lafayette achieve sustainability: The Biology Society, Student’s Against the Violation of the Environment (SAVE), and Cajun Advanced Picosatellite Experiment (CAPE).
The Biology Society works to help students learn more about biology and help the environment as well.
“In the Biology Society, we’re super proactive on trying to maintain sustainability, not just in the club itself, but we also try and spread that message onto our members as well to get them to be just as proactive outside of the organization as well,” Vanessa Le, the Public Relations Officer for the Biology Society, said.
“Specifically within the organization we do a lot of things throughout the semester,” Le continued. “This semester, our major project is going to be Festival Acadien's and our recycling efforts. We’re also going to be doing some service with cleaning up the bayou.”
SAVE is another campus organization, but this organization is new this year and more specific to UL Lafayette’s campus than the Biology Society.
“We really wanted to stabilize an environmentally friendly community on campus in which we could pass ideas around and actually start getting involved in the community.” Lucas Coleman, the co-president of SAVE, said.
Coleman mentioned some campus-specific issues that SAVE would like to see solved.
“I think the biggest environmental issue is housing and that students often leave the lights on and they leave windows open; all the cool air is going to be released,” Coleman said. “That’s one major problem right now.”
“Also, the cafeteria, where — just the amount of food that is being wasted everyday. You know, you might just throw away a couple of pieces today, a half a slice of pizza, but hundreds of people eat there a day and people are doing that everyday, and so that’s going to add up very, very fast.”
Coleman continued, “We’re working really closely with the Office of Sustainability department. One, because they have the resources that, kind of, we don’t have, and two, by working with them we’d have a larger voice in our community.”
Unlike the Biology Society and SAVE, CAPE is a program that is engineering-specific, but still helps the sustainability effort in a different way.
“The CAPE Program is currently working on a Weather Balloon Project through a grant with the Louisiana Space Grant Consortium (LaSpace) to develop a Weather Balloon Payload Project that collects data about pollutants in the upper atmosphere from the surface to roughly 100,000 feet in the sky,” Rizwan Merchant, the Program Manager for CAPE said.
“The program brings together electrical engineers, computer scientists, mechanical engineers and many other disciplines to build and launch picosatellites into space,” Merchant added, “Our program is primarily student-run and is responsible for the research, design, development and maintain low earth orbiting satellites.”
However, despite the presence of these organizations, some students are still unaware of their existence.
“Well I can’t think of any organizations, I know we have the classes though,” said senior Sierra Logan, a Biology major.
Courtney Burque, a student employee at the information desk in the Student Union, said, “I cannot think of any. I haven’t really given much thought to that at all.”
Kaylie Cory, the other co-president of SAVE, explained why she thought that students might not know about environmental organizations on campus.
“We haven’t really had one before, or for a while I should say because there was one before,” Cory said. “I think it was called Reach, and when the advisor died, they kind of didn’t do anything.
“We have the Office of Sustainability, but that’s not a student organization so there hasn’t really been a chance for students to organize themselves, and some people really don’t feel motivated to start it themselves.”