Being red, seeing green
Green Cardinal Initiative brings students, staff together for eco-ideas
April 28, 2008 —
"Red Pride, Green Campus," is the slogan to the new Green Cardinal Initiative with a goal of turning SVSU into a more enviromentally-friendly campus.
"The Green Cardinal Initiative involves a collaboration of students, faculty, and staff from a variety of departments, including sociology, engineering, chemistry, art, Dining Services, grounds, and the library," said Brian Thomas, a professor in the sociology department. "These are people who want to volunteer and give back, starting with our 782 acre 'home' and extending to the greater community."
The GCI receives funding from different sources, such as the Roberta Allen Foundation and the SVSU foundation grant. The Roberta Allen Foundation grant helped with the 2006 construction of the greenhouse on North Michigan Road.
"A recent study at Michigan State University indicated that if people were to eat more food produced in Michigan this would generated up to 1,889 new jobs across the state and $187 million in new personal income from those jobs," Thomas said.
He said a current problem with agriculture is that fertilizer is imported instead of being produced locally. The GCI has found a potential solution with worm tea.
"Worm tea is an all-natural liquid fertilizer made from worm composting of organic matter," Thomas said. "In some markets, worm tea sells for $40 a gallon. We are producing five to six gallons a day."
Waste from Dining Services, including produce from Starbucks, is used to feed the worms.
The GCI has sold some of the products from the greenhouse, but has no definite future plans for worm tea.
Thomas hopes the initiative will grow and operations can expand.
"We currently have 41 people signed up as 'Green Cardinals' and anticipate this number to grow rapidly."