When Sarah Fischer attended a conference in Baltimore, Maryland, last year, she said listening to a presentation changed the way she looked at her own potential in promoting campus sustainability.
At the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education conference, an idea struck Fischer when listening to Dominic Frongillo, a town council member in Caroline, New York, speak about the impact young people have on their environment. Frongillo went to every house in his town offering free LED lightbulbs to help spread the word about energy efficiency.
When Fischer, a third–year in environment, economy, development and sustainability, returned to Ohio State, she applied for and received a Coca-Cola Student Sustainability Grant, offered to students who have ideas to increase sustainability on campus through OSU’s Office of Energy Management and Sustainability. After receiving about $4,500 in December, she used the grant money to begin the Light Up with LED program this semester.
“The whole idea is to educate students about energy efficiency and how to make small changes in off-campus living to make sure you are being sustainable,” Fischer said.
The Light Up with LED program has students register to bring in up to five non-LED light bulbs in exchange for five LED light bulbs. The money from the grant paid for the bulbs, the bags and promotional print materials.
Tim Cho, a third-year in environment, economy, development and sustainability, said he uses his role as a community ambassador with the Office of Student Life’s Off-Campus and Commuter Student Services to spread the word about Fischer’s program. Cho assisted Fischer in promoting the spread of more efficient light bulbs.
“Sarah came in and told our office about the program because she wanted to collaborate with the off-campus office, so students who live off campus can get free LED light bulbs,” he said.
Fischer said that for many students, this is the first time they have lived on their own, so if they can instill energy-efficient practices now, they are more likely to carry that the rest of their lives.
Carlos Lugo, the program manager of sustainability at OSU, said it is fully Fischer’s responsibility to run and manage the project.
“Once we award the grant, it is the student’s responsibility to run and manage the project,” Lugo said. “Sarah applied and we reviewed, she was then awarded with one of the grants.”
Fischer hopes to continue the program throughout the month of April and has scheduled more pickup dates for students to register for the lightbulb exchange in the coming weeks.
“LED bulbs are good for the environment because they save energy but they also save money, so it’s about teaching people what sustainability is,” Fischer said. “It’s more than just tree hugging, it’s about saving money, being more efficient and making sure we are using our resources properly so we can survive.”