This semester, ETSU’s sustainability organization, EcoNuts, brought the “What’s the Buzz” campaign to campus.
The campaign was originally created to target Johnson City as a whole, but EcoNuts has channeled the initiative to a campus-wide level.
The “What’s the Buzz” campaign is meant to bring attention to the decreased pollination levels and the effects that plant pesticides that are being used on campus are having on the bee population.
The United States Department of Agriculture has said that one out of every three bites of food that humans consume exists thanks to major pollinators such as bees, butterflies, moths, bats and beetles.
According to Gina Alston, senior and EcoNut representative, bees pollinate almost 75 percent of the foods that we eat every day.
Some of the foods affected by decreased pollination include apples, strawberries, coffee, chocolate and pumpkins.
“A lot of people don’t realize how crucial bees are to our food supply,” Alston said.
EcoNuts has started a petition for ETSU students and faculty to help make a difference by attempting to decrease, or even eliminate, the amount of pesticides that are used on our campus. The petition is to help support them in designating ETSU as one of the “Bee Campus USA” schools.
If the petition receives enough signatures, the changes that will be made to ETSU include adding pollinator-friendly plants on campus, developing a pest management plan rather than always using pesticides and initiating service-learning projects and workshops.
In an attempt to increase awareness for their cause, EcoNuts has been wearing and handing out bumble bee tattoos for students to put on in order to start conversation or to create a “buzz” around the topic.
“It’s a cool idea,” said senior Cade Whitman. “It is a problem nobody talks about, but has a huge effect on our lives.”
Every Thursday, EcoNuts is tabling at the Farmer’s Market to help spread awareness. At the table, students and faculty can to learn more about nationwide pollination issues and sign the petition for ETSU.