by Rachael Moreland, Second Nature Intern

The year 2015 brings waves of New Year’s resolutions from people who seek improvement. And among them, Second Nature signatories will share their efforts toward improving campus sustainability. Every other year, signatories submit a Progress Report on advancement towards their Climate Action Plan goals. Although the deadline to submit Progress Reports isn’t until January 15, a handful of schools already shared their accomplishments. I would like to highlight a few submissions that particularly captured our attention:

Linfield College graduate, Collin Morris ’13, recently created a sustainable agriculture internship program that connects students with local organic farmers in the McMinnville, OR area. This program enables students to analyze current food systems with the goal of determining viable solutions to the issues associated with industrial agriculture. Students also plant, tend, and harvest crops on local farms, which fosters the support of local businesses and encourages the Linfield college community to reduce their carbon footprint by eating locally grown foods.

The University of Southern Mississippi’s Office of Sustainability strongly focuses on motivating students to adapt to a lifestyle that produces less environmental consequences. Through the “No Impact Week,” the Office of Sustainability plans various carbon and waste reduction challenges that range from eating meatless for a day to swapping consumer goods in place of purchasing new ones. In addition, “No Impact Week” encourages students to participate in one of many volunteer opportunities offered by the university through the “give back” themed day.

Auburn University’s Academic Sustainability Program aims to incorporate sustainability education into their course curriculum and research initiatives. By offering annual 2-day faculty training workshops, this program demonstrates how sustainability can be implemented in the classroom. Participants can then earn monetary supplements after they revise their course syllabi to include sustainability. With this addition, Auburn University hopes to motivate students of all academic backgrounds to improve their own efforts towards advancing campus sustainability.

Congratulations to Linfield College, University of Southern Mississippi, and Auburn University on these inspiring accomplishments! We look forward to reviewing more Progress Reports as the submission deadline approaches.