SAVI hopes to raise awareness for environmental sustainability on and off-campus

Students Advocating Volunteer Involvement leaders discuss Environmental Awareness Week and the impact students can make in keeping the environment clean.

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SAVI Director Hanna Kleinhans, and Adviser Lindsey Goldstein image courtesy of SAVI Instagram (@faubocasavi)

Darlene Antoine, Features Editor

Students Advocating Volunteer Involvement (SAVI) aims to promote environmental sustainability and campus cleanliness from making recycled materials into jewelry to cleaning littered scraps of plastic along the coastal shores.

The Student Government office strives to encourage student volunteerism to increase community service and engagement with Environmental Awareness Week. 

“We definitely wanted to help start the conversation of having some type of sustainability action plan form on our campus, because I know we all are passionate about that. I think it’s really important for our students to have a voice and say we care about our planet, we care about everything that’s going on, and we want to make a difference,” SAVI Director Hanna Kleinhans said.

Environmental Awareness Week aims to educate students and faculty on the importance of both on and off-campus environmental sustainability efforts through the week-long event.

On Monday, Sept 13, the Climate Reality event from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. in Live Oak will feature Student Government and Executive Director of Pine Jog Environmental Education Center Ray Coleman, who will touch on sustainability action on university campuses. 

Following that event on Wednesday, Sept. 15 is Trash to Treasure from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. in the Student Union Multipurpose room wherein students will be able to make recycled material into treasure or a craft item that they can take home. 

On Tuesday, Sept. 17, SAVI will be doing an Instagram Live Recycling How-To event at 12:00 p.m. to show students how they can turn recycled clothing into t-shirt dog toys. 

Saturday, Sept. 18, is International Coastal Cleanup from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., in which SAVI works with Keeping Palm Beach Counties Beautiful at the Gumbo Limbo Nature Center to clean littered trash from beaches. 

The activism of SAVI members also reaches beyond the environmental awareness efforts as members are able to volunteer for school drive supplies, clothing donations, animal activism projects, and much more.

 

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Kleinhans explained that she took pride in her experience as SAVI director, as she is able to help students become more engaged in volunteering as it is an activity that she is passionate about. 

“It’s helped me to continue to develop my passion in life for community service and philanthropy and just giving back. I think it’s helped me learn. I’ve always felt the passion in myself and that’s why I wanted to apply for the position because I wanted to give it out to students. And we’ve had a few volunteer opportunities like, actually, we had our patriot day of service and there were probably 20 students there and it was so amazing to see how everyone was talking and having so much fun and repainting a home for a veteran,” Kleinhans said. “We took time out of our Friday morning to go and do that for someone. The students had to wake up early to get on the bus to go to be in the hot sun while painting. They really took the experience to heart and they learned a lot. And it helped them to open their hearts to more opportunities.”

Assistant Director of Weppner Center for Civic Engagement and Service-Learning Lindsey Goldstein advises the student professionals in SAVI. She explained that seeing both the efforts of SAVI and other community service organizations is important to her because of their positive impact on the community. 

“So really getting to see not only SAVI, but other organizations, whether that is environmental, whether that is helping the elderly, kids, whatever that cause may be on making it happen, and especially seeing them overcome,” Goldstein said. “There’s an MLK quote that says, ‘everybody can be great because anybody can serve.’”

Site Leader Kyla Flannery noted that she joined both student government and SAVI intending to increase environmental sustainability. 

“So last year, I was in the House of Representatives. And basically one of my main goals was just finding how to make the campus more green,” Flannery said.

Treasurer Kirk Meyers explained that the university has a long way to go in terms of increasing on-campus sustainability.

“We believe in student government that FAU still needs to take a lot of strides, necessary strides, in improving our on-campus sustainability initiatives, we don’t have a formal on-campus or university-wide sustainability plan,” Meyers said. “Our mission in student government is to provide more educational volunteering, and just overall awareness opportunities to our student body, at least for this year. And we want to [encourage] students to begin “lobbying,” or at least expressing their concern or their interest for the university to begin creating this introductory or basic level structure of some sort of sustainability plan for the next 20 to 30 years.”

When asked about the increase of on-campus littering of masks, Meyers spoke up about the negative impacts littering has on not just the environment but also the surrounding wildlife in the area.

“It’s not a hard effort to put it in a proper disposal area, whether that be a waste, recycle bin, keep it in your pocket until you’re in your residence hall, or your facility wherever there’s actually going to be garbage thrown out. You don’t want an animal to ingest it, whether it be a raccoon or a bird, and we know we have gopher tortoises in the area,” Meyers said. “You definitely don’t want them eating any actual plastic waste, as they’re an endangered animal. And we just want to remind students, it’s just very simple. And it’s something we all have to do as individual students, or it’s not going to be done properly.”

Meyers emphasized that everyone on the university campus has a significant impact on the environment.

“I would just say, you know, we all share the same campus, the same university in the same community. And we all have the 100% equal ability to make it to improve it. Regardless, if you’re in the position of Hana as SAVI director, you’re an upcoming volunteer in SAVI or you’re just a normal student on campus; we have the same amount of ability to impact the community and our campus positively,” said Meyers. 

Students interested in SAVI can see their Instagram: @faubocasavi for the latest events and volunteer opportunities. 


Darlene Antoine is the Features Editor for the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected]