In a matter of days, on Dec. 17, I will walk from the Natural Resources building to the Lory Student Center for the last time as an undergraduate student at CSU.
As the procession makes its way across the Plaza, caps and tassels bouncing under the glow of streetlights and banners proclaiming â€œCSU the Green University,â€ Iâ€™ll smile, and perhaps even laugh, because it will be then, I know, that my time here will have been worth something.
For you see, the very institution that boasts a â€œgreenâ€ agenda, while at the same time leaving lights on at night, heating buildings in June and irrigating sidewalks with inordinate amounts of wasted water, is the very institution that has spent the last four years teaching me to spot these shortfalls in sustainability.
Now, as I stand at the end of my time here and amid this great irony, Iâ€™m forced to ask myself, â€œWhat was all of this for?â€
Opposite the brash banners we so proudly wave and the thousands we spend on our â€œGreen Universityâ€ ad campaigns, the hundreds of computer screens and classrooms left illuminated overnight shine like slot machines, consuming unfathomable amounts of electricity while draining even more of our student fees.
How much of our tuition dollars go to gas powered leaf blowers and lawn mowers or to the salaries of those we pay to have fallen leaves removed from our pristine expanse of overwatered landscapes?
How many kilowatt hours are spent heating and cooling the buildings we erect without windows, surrounded by black asphalt deserts absorbing the torrid temperatures of a northern Colorado summer?
Take a late night walk down the Plaza and see the lights in the Morgan Library and the Clark building ablaze. Watch the intramural fields as they saturate and drown under an excessive flood of wasted water.
Itâ€™s all your money my friends, yet no one seems to notice. And why is that?
Is it because we display some dude in green paint, cheap sunglasses and an even cheaper smile as our mascot for sustainability?
Is it our nice neat single-stream recycle bins that most students still canâ€™t seem to hit with their to-go boxes made of Styrofoam?
Are we distracted by the compostable corn cups we buy that will, in reality, take years to degrade and occupy just as much space in a landfill?
The truth is CSUâ€™s composting program is unseen, our solar energy production provides barely enough to power buildings that havenâ€™t gone dark in decades and the wind farms weâ€™ve been waiting for never really seem to be built.
Are we really making as much progress our green-washed websites shout about, or does our Board of Governors simply want us to think so?
Instead of spending it on plastic Nerf guns and running around at ungodly hours of the night shooting each other, I challenge you to murder the real vampire. Unplug the next unused computer you see.
Instead of paying Parking Services stupid amounts for a permit, buy a bike, ride the bus or take a walk rather than funding the needless flow of citations, not to mention the time of undercover students who write your parking tickets day after day.
Install sufficient solar and wind production, so we can put a little more back into the grid. instead of wasting it away while paying to do so at the same time.
You may not see it yet, but this is a business, and weâ€™re not getting anything for free. And soon, as Iâ€™m dancing up the steps to the tune of pomp and circumstance, I will have no illusions of how our ultimate alma mater has conned us all in this great game we call â€œsustainability.â€
All Iâ€™m saying is, think about it next time you pay your bill.
Hayes Seubert is a senior natural resources recreation and tourism major. Letters and feedback can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.