Northern Michigan University environmental sciences major Alexis Giesey collected and posted information about NMU's carbon emissions on the Sustainable NMU website for her senior project. She is also president of EcoReps, a student sustainability peer-to-peer education program.
Giesey created a graphic that looks at how much electricity, water and fuel NMU consumes per quarter, based on recent available data. She also addressed what Northern is doing to combat its carbon emissions.
Sustainability is among NMU's core values and included in the university's strategic plan. NMU previously announced its commitment to becoming carbon neutral by 2050. Giesey highlighted other plans related to the 2030 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals: promoting education and awareness, building local partnerships, improving waste and recycling, and protecting freshwater.
“Our focus is on helping our campus do better and starting the conversation about carbon emissions will hopefully change some student's minds about its importance,” Giesey said. “There are a lot of improvements already, but initiating composting activities and funding for student sustainability efforts like the $5 green fund help even more.”
The $5 green fund is a refundable fee assessed to full-time students that supports the organization's campus-wide programming each semester. As an EcoReps member, Giesey helped with that effort, along with last year's carbon neutrality petition and previous zero-waste initiatives, which encourage NMU hockey fans to visit informational displays and sort their trash at zero-waste stations throughout the Berry Events Center.
According to Giesey's research, 65% of global greenhouse gas emissions are CO2. As she finishes her senior year, she encourages students to “join organizations, volunteer and get in contact with Earth, Environmental and Geographical Sciences department professors, regardless of your major. It helps to know what's happening around you so it can motivate you to take initiative when it comes to carbon emissions and sustainability on campus.”
Giesey plans to attend law school next year with a focus on environmental law and policy.
View her senior project information graphic here.