SPEAR named ‘Greenest Group on Campus’

Pictured (l to r): Andrea George, Skyler Hutto, Jessica Preston (Vanderbilt University)

The winner of the 2013 Vanderbilt Athletics Basketball Sustainability Competition is Students Promoting Environmental Awareness and Responsibility (SPEAR).

The group celebrated the accomplishment of being named the “Greenest Group on Campus” with a VIP event at the Vanderbilt vs. Georgia basketball game on Feb. 27.

Skyler Hutto, SPEAR president, accepted a basketball signed by Head Coach Kevin Stallings from Andrea George, director of Vanderbilt’s Sustainability and Environmental Management Office, and an award made of recycled materials from Jessica Preston, area sustainability program director for Waste Management.

The competition, presented by Vanderbilt Athletics, Waste Management and SEMO, invited all groups, teams, departments and campus organizations to compete for the title of “Greenest Group on Campus” by filling out a checklist filled with sustainable actions under the categories of Reduce, Reuse, Recycle; Energy and Water Savings; and Transportation. Additionally, there was a section where groups could describe innovative sustainability actions going on within their department or organization.

SPEAR was recognized for its creativity and consistency in acting sustainably and promoting environmental awareness on campus. The group regularly posts reminders about recycling, holds awareness-based events regarding recycling and sustainability and engages in events designed to recycle products that would otherwise be thrown away.

Approximately 100 SPEAR members were a part of the Cardboard Crew that helped recycle 32.66 tons of cardboard during move-in this past fall, an 83 percent increase over the year before. SPEAR members also assist with recycling during home football games. For Vanderbilt-wide service days such as the 9/11 Day of Service and MLK Day of Service, SPEAR engages in recycling or energy related service events in Nashville.

To help promote energy savings, SPEAR has developed awareness campaigns in which members are informed about the benefits of turning off lights, taking shorter showers, using the stairs and eliminating “vampire” energy. Additionally, SPEAR works with Plant Operations to identify faulty light bulbs and hot spots around campus. SPEAR has also developed and promoted other sustainability related projects including the Vanderbilt Green Fund, Nashville’s Clean Air Resolution, and the switch to reusable or biodegradable containers and utensils within the Vanderbilt Dining system.

For more information about Vanderbilt’s recycling and sustainability programs, visit the SustainVU website.