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Tuesday, February 07, 2023

UF's Student Senate shifted its focus from politics to the environment at its Tuesday night meeting.

Senators heard a report from Dedee DeLongpre, director of the UF Office of Sustainability, and passed a resolution expressing their appreciation of sustainability efforts at UF.

DeLongpre said UF and Americans in general need to "shift their fundamental worldview" when it comes to the environment.

Though Americans account for 5 percent of the world's population, they use about 30 percent of the world's resources and create about 25 percent of the world's emissions, she said.

DeLongpre said UF must balance its focus on economic gains with a focus on environmental issues.

"The environment's like this little fuzzy bunny that's cute, and we try to pay attention if we have time," she said. "We as a human species get to survive because of the ecosystem services we rely on for life."

DeLongpre described several projects her office is undertaking and outlined UF's long-term goals to make campus more environmentally friendly.

Current projects include using recycled water for irrigation and constructing facilities that meet Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design standards, which were developed by the U.S. Green Building Council.

UF's Green Team, a group of volunteers who work on football game days to recycle waste, recycled about 17,000 pounds of aluminum and glass last season, she said.

That mark is already being surpassed this year.

UF also has goals for the near future, she said.

Some examples include being carbon neutral by 2020 and not producing any waste by 2015, which would require a reduction of nearly 200 million pounds of waste.

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DeLongpre's office is working on a plan aimed at meeting these goals around campus.

The bulk of environmental responsibility rests in the hands of students and young people, she added.

"Whether or not this very young species survives is really a result of what you all are doing right now," DeLongpre said.

After DeLongpre's speech, senators passed a resolution that expressed appreciation of UF's sustainability efforts led by DeLongpre.

In other business, senators also passed a resolution asking the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice to review the "Jena 6" incident. The resolution also wished luck to the citizens of Jena.

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