Students show commitment to the environment by volunteering their time, effort on and off campus


Louie Cioè

Professor Young D. Choi takes his Environmental Science students on a field trip to Carlson Oxbow Park in Hammond to talk about the history and characteristics of its marsh.

Though people have talked about climate change for decades, PNW students are doing something about it.

From tree planting to water quality monitoring, students are trying to make it a better world.

“The Honors College has been doing tree plantings since before my freshman year,” said Aneri Patel, a senior Mechanical Engineering major. “We primarily do these for environmental awareness and to do our part in the community. 

They plant trees all around Hammond and in surrounding areas. 

“We do our tree planting with the Student Conservation Association, and they provide the trees,” said Patel. “This allows students to contribute to making a difference.” 

While students are actively trying to do something to reduce the impacts of climate change, one professor said the world cannot hope to go green overnight.

“We cannot completely stop using fossil fuels,” said Sarah de la Rue, a Chemistry and Physics professor. “But we can decide more wisely how they are used. We need to reduce our production of plastics. But then, even ‘green’ wind turbines are composed primarily of plastic products.” 

Student volunteerism is not limited to the campus. The Environmental Club has tackled several projects throughout Northwest Indiana. 

“The club has not met in person since March of 2020 … but some events that we did were the monitoring of the water quality of the Little Calumet River, sponsoring speakers on local and national environmental concerns, helping with campus recycling in classrooms, etc., which is now done by facilities,” said John Bachmann, the club’s advisor.

Meanwhile, there is plenty that PNW officials can do to promote the environment.


“PNW campus officials could plant more areas of natural, drought-resistant, tall-grass prairie plants to purify the air,” said de la Rue. “People and campus officials can also improve on daily-monthly-yearly consumption and lifestyle patterns.” 

Some students are thinking of more personal ways to help fight climate change.  

“I plan on reusing plastics,” said Emily Feliciano, a junior Elementary Education major. “As a teacher, I plan on using it at home and in the classroom, planting things and being more of an influence on the environment.” 

She said doing simple, everyday things can make a difference. 

“Be more efficient with your family, if there’s something close by, walk,” said Feliciano. “Also, do your part. Throw stuff out that is on the ground.”