On Sept. 13, the Honors College Student Council threw their annual potluck on the front lawn of Ada Earnest House.

At the potluck each guest contributed a dish, dessert or beverage.

However, this year they did something a little differently: The Student Council worked together with the Department of Sustainability to make it ETSU’s first-ever Zero Waste Event.

The Department Of Sustainability’s mission is to “meet the needs of ETSU without unnecessarily compromising resources so that future student and generations can experience and enjoy them.” They work to maintain the environment, reduce landfill buildup and eliminate food waste.

The student portion of the Department of Sustainability are the EcoNuts. Their job is to educate different organizations on how to be more efficient and environmentally conscious. They emphasize the benefits of going green to other organizations by leading through example and engaging organizations in community events.

“We’re hoping to encourage many other student organizations to choose to decrease or eliminate waste altogether at their events,” said Lexie Exley, a member of EcoNuts and an intern with the Department of Sustainability.

The council was convinced to go green by another related organization called LEAF, Leaders in Environmentally Aware Functioning. LEAF is a smaller project that directly works with student organizations leaders. They educate the organizations and offer advice for hosting more sustainable events.

The Honors College Student Council and LEAF  came to an agreement, and the event became “LEAF certified,” being classified as an officially “green” organization on campus. LEAF then gave the organization a cart of reusable dishes. To become a LEAF-certified organization, email LEAFcertification@gmail.com.

The Department of Sustainability is working to make environmental changes around ETSU, but ultimately they believe that the individual makes quite the difference. Director of Sustainability Kathleen Moore said recycling and being green is only a small piece of the duties the department takes on.

“There are so many things for us to work on, I doubt we will ever run out of things to do,” Moore said. “By students’ helping to spread the word, there is opportunity for a positive change that everyone can be a part of.”

Sept. 13 marked the first Zero Waste Event, but she is sure there will be plenty more to follow.