Sustaining campus community through eco-friendly events

Sustain Coastal celebrates Earth Month throughout April


Sustain Coastal kicks off this Earth Month with fun, community-building activities that teach students how to live sustainably.

Sustainability Coordinator of Sustain Coastal Cassie LaValley said their mission is to transform Coastal Carolina University into an environmentally sustainable campus through operations like recycling and composting as well as outreach with tabling events or formal presentations. According to the Sustain Coastal website, the organization was established in 2005 and since then has worked to create sustainable initiatives and events for the campus community.

“Sustainability means not only focusing on the environmental aspects, but social and cultural aspects too,” Green Team member Bailie Willis said. “Just working to have a future our kids can enjoy.”

Last week, these events were in full swing, starting with a booth at LiveWell’s “Countdown Don’t Meltdown” event April 5. Sustain Coastal’s booth at the event featured a gratitude poster and a do-it-yourself (DIY) soap scrub and cleaning supplies.

According to senior Eco-Rep and marine science major Riley Ross, the event allows participants to be more mindful of what they have and reduce consumerism. Ross also said the DIY products are made with natural ingredients to take away chemical components that could harm the environment.

Alexia Pistachio, a senior marine science major who stopped at the booth, said she liked Sustain Coastal’s events because she finds what she takes from the event in her daily life. She said being sustainable means using the resources appropriately so that the next generation can succeed by being wise about product choices.

“Being more knowledgeable about what you’re doing and your actions and that your actions impact other people, not just yourself,” Pistachio said.

Ross said she joined the eco-rep team because she had a passion for sustainability since high school. Ross said she likes working for Sustain Coastal because it focuses on what everyday people can do to help the environment.

“Instead of focusing on just corporations or just politics. It really takes it into our own hands,” Ross said.

In addition, Sustain Coastal hosted a climate action sign painting on Prince Lawn Thursday, April 6. EcoRep and junior sustainability major Jo Whitney said the goal of the event was to allow for people to express themselves while also having a call to action. Whitney said the signs will be hung in Kimbel Library throughout the month of April so that there will be a long-lasting effect of the event.

These two events are only the beginning of Sustain Coastal’s Earth Month events. According to the Sustain Coastal website, there will be several film screenings centered on environmental issues, a farmer’s market, and a planting day throughout the month of April. One of their larger events will be the Sustainability Symposium on Tuesday, April 11.

According to LaValley, the symposium acts as an opportunity to showcase the work that Sustain Coastal has been doing on campus, showcase the sustainability work of South Carolina residents off campus, and increase community engagement. She said the event will feature world-renowned scientists as speakers.

“When I was a student, I never would have even fathomed that we would have an event like that,” LaValley said.

Sustain Coastal offers resources as well as events, according to Whitney. They said student organizations can reach out to Sustain Coastal if they are looking for clean-up supplies or if they want to partner for a community clean-up.

Social Media and Marketing Manager and student Emily Bishop said Sustain Coastal gives small, teal recycling bins with handles to students for free. Bishop said the bins allow students to easily move their recycling from their apartment to the recycling bins.

LaValley said Sustain Coastal also offers reusable bags and reusable dining kits to students to help limit single-use plastics on campus. She said the President’s Council for Sustainability and Coastal Resilience offers a sustainability grant that students, faculty and staff can apply for. She said the grant can be used for organization, class and personal projects that have a focus on making a change on campus.

“We truly believe in not only educating our students on how to live more sustainably, but also providing them with the tools and resources to do so,” LaValley said.

LaValley said attitudes towards sustainability on campus have changed drastically since she was a student in a positive way.

“I found it was very hard to engage people and get the campus community engaged on these issues,” LaValley said, “and now it’s almost the opposite. People are seeking us out for our knowledge, education, and awareness on these issues.”

She said this is encouraging because sustainability is only going to continue to grow and get more students and faculty involved.

“I’m just excited for the program and energy around sustainability to grow,” LaValley said. “I feel like, right now, we’re at a prime time to improve things here on campus and I truly feel like the sky is the limit.”

For more information about Sustain Coastal, how to get more involved, or their events, visit or email [email protected].