GSU Continues to Go Green

GSU student Rebecca Schreurs of Monee, Professor John Yunger of GSU, and students Jessica Woodman of Country Club Hills, and Katie Doranski of Chicago pull yards of coiled water from Thorn Creek. (PHOTO SUPPLIED)

University Park, IL–(ENEWSPF)– No one is quite sure how long the automobile engine had been in the bottom of Thorn Creek, but it isn’t there any longer. Or how long the bowling shoes, bald tires, and yards and yards of coiled wire have blocked the water flow. But all that trash and truckloads more were hauled recently from the banks and bottom of the creek, and deposited where they belong.

The tires were sent to a tire recycling center to be shredded for ground material. Most of the metal, such as the engine block and wire coils, were sold as scrap, and what could not be recycled was taken to the landfill.

Disgusted with the condition of the stretch of Thorn Creek that runs along Dralle Road in University Park on the Governors State University campus, members of the GSU Biology Club volunteered recently to clean it up. Biology professor John Yunger and Karen D’Arcy, Chair of the Science Division in the College of Arts and Sciences, helped them. Members of the GSU Facilities Department also assisted in the clean up by operating a front loader to pull larger objects out of the creek and dump trucks to haul the garbage away.

“This is a part of the campus usually only seen by our biology students conducting field work, but all this trash has an adverse effect on the environment. It clogs the flow of water and impedes water run-off. This effects local farms as well as the animals that live in the area and need the water,” explained Yunger.

The fruits of their labors – the piles of refuse – were displayed on campus for the rest of the GSU community to see. Onlookers were surprised to see parts of automobiles, construction debris, and kitchen appliances, as well as mounds of bottles, cans, and plastic bags.

The Biology Club hopes to make this clean up an annual event and to encourage other volunteers to join in their efforts. “It is important that we do this more often. The people dumping their trash are not thinking of how it effects the environment. Protecting it should not be a onetime event,” said GSU student Angie Tapley of Homewood.

The Biology’s Club activities are part of the university’s efforts to encourage sustainability and the greening of GSU. To meet this commitment, the university partnered with Energy Systems Group (ESG) for an energy audit and the implementation of energy conservation measures. Among the measures ESG and the university have implemented are the replacement of inefficient boilers, lamps, and light fixtures with energy efficient equipment.

For the second year in a row GSU competed in RecycleMania – a nationwide challenge for colleges and universities to increase awareness of waste reduction and recycling initiatives. In another demonstration of the university’s commitment to reducing its carbon footprint, GSU showed it knows how to take out the trash. Competing in the Waste Minimization category, GSU placed sixteenth out of 199 schools at the national level and first among the five schools competing from Illinois.