Young Harris College faculty, staff and students are constantly instituting new programs and initiatives to ensure that sustainability remains a top priority on campus. Joining a group that is working to make YHC more sustainable is one of the best ways for students, faculty and staff to have an impact both on and off campus.
YHC Sustainability Committee
The College’s institution-wide sustainability committee is comprised of faculty, staff and students. In 2010, the committee, previously structured as an academic entity, will partner with the Office of Safety and Compliance to establish Sustainability Tactics and Environmental Management (STEM), an initiative to implement campus-wide procedures that reflect the sustainability goals of the College. The committee is comprised of subcommittees that focus on the community, campus and curriculum to raise awareness about sustainability and implement new efforts to make YHC a more sustainable campus. To find out more about the goals of the Sustainability Committee, check out the Young Harris College Sustainability Strategic Plan: Learning to Think and Act Sustainably.
YHC Student Government Association – Sustainability Subcommittee
Young Harris College’s Student Government Association is placing a bigger emphasis on sustainability efforts and selects a sustainability chair each academic year to help achieve this goal. SGA is constantly working to implement more “green” practices at the College. SGA also established an ad-hoc committee to accomplish many major goals regarding sustainability: to better market and distribute the green fee, to analyze all aspects of student life in regards to sustainability and to set long-term goals. In 2009, SGA purchased recycling bins for every room in each residence hall on campus with part of its “green fee” fund, established for campus-wide sustainability programs. YHC students pay a $5 per semester green fee, and the College matches the student contribution. In 2010, SGA led an effort for more student organizations to get involved and assist with campus-wide recycling by collecting plastics, aluminum and corrugated cardboard in return for a stipend for their organizations. In 2011, SGA finalized a Green Fee application process that enables students, faculty and staff to submit suggestions regarding how to best utilize the budget provided to SGA by the Green Fee.
The AmeriCorps Bonner Leaders Program is a scholarship-like program for Young Harris College students who have a real passion for making a difference on their campus, in their community and in the larger world beyond. Bonner Leaders work 10 hours each week during the school year at non-profit agencies throughout the community. This work includes coordinating sustainability efforts throughout the campus and community. During the school year, Bonners Leaders work with community partner sites including The Hinton Center for Rural Life, the Hiawassee River Watershed Coalition and the Young Harris College Sustainability Committee to further sustainability efforts both on and off campus.
Roots & Shoots
YHC founded a student chapter of Roots & Shoots in 2009. Roots & Shoots is a global environmental and humanitarian youth program of the Jane Goodall Institute. The chapter is currently focusing on campus recycling, allocating part of their funds to educate students about the correct way to recycle. The chapter also collaborated with the YHC Student Government Association (SGA) to produce signs for recycling containers purchased by SGA for all residence halls. In the future, the group plans to focus on animal rights outreach and help non-governmental organizations communicate the dangers of invasive plants and the benefits of planting native species.