Winona State challenges teams on the importance of sustainability

Allison Mueller

Samantha Beck/ Winonan

Winona State University is trending the hashtag #SustyChallenge as a part of the 2014 Sustainability Challenge: a monthlong challenge open to students, faculty and staff to encourage environmentally conscious practices on campus.

The challenge promotes awareness of being environmentally green through various team activities.  By breaking bad habits and creating good green habits, environmental awareness is created and sustained.

Mike Plombon, a senior nursing student at Winona State, said, “The challenge will help the environment down the road, mostly be promoting environmentally conscious practices.”

One of the teams, “The Bonnie Rae’s,” sat down to discuss the Sustainability Challenge with their captain, Linda Heath.

“It’s a good way to get involved with the community,” Heath said, smiling at her students, who are mostly nursing majors.

“As nursing majors, we can promote being environmental sustainable through our patients,” Plombon said. “We can touch different audiences normal people can’t.”

The Sustainability Challenge’s goal is directed toward promoting green practices, but it also promotes doing things to help lower environmental impact on Earth by making changes in daily life.

Matt Benson and Katie Blegen, participants in the challenge, mentioned a few of these changes.

“We use washable plates, we carpool and pick up trash alongside the road,” Benson said.

“I actually started unplugging my toaster and turning off the lights in the rooms I am not in,” Blegen said. “Even my roommates started to help.”

To win the Sustainability Challenge, teams are given a sheet of sustainable practices which get scored. With every activity, the team receives points, and at the end of the challenge the team with the most points will be named victor and will take home other prizes.

Other environmentally conscious practices include walking to school, using a reusable bottle, not smoking, washing clothes in cold water, unplugging at least three appliances when not in use and eating a meatless meal.

“I actually unplug all my appliances when I go home for the long weekend,” Blegen said. “It is about being aware of the environment.”

The Sustainability Challenge will last more than four weeks.

“The Bonnie Rae’s” believe they will win the challenge.