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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

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    Running on Sustainability

    Lisa Ospitale is seeing green. As director of marketing and communications of Campus Dining, she’s initiated many sustainable programs to help Stony Brook University reduce its consumption. When a friend jokes that she’s a member of the “green police,” she doesn’t disagree. “If I see you not throwing paper out properly, I’ll yell,” she says with a smile. “But it’s a love yell.”

    But don’t think that she’s just telling others what to do. Over the course of two years, Ospitale has been tweaking little habits in her life, in hopes of reducing her carbon footprint and living greener. “I was doing what everyone else does: recycling, shutting off the water when brushing my teeth,” she explained. “But once I helped coordinate Earthstock, I learned that I could do much more.”

    Daily habits have accumulated into a mountain of reduction for her. Ospitale now avoids hot water when washing her family’s clothes, and uses all-natural cleaning supplies. Other than her paper Starbucks coffee cup, which she says is an exception (normally she brings a reusable mug), she’s completely eradicated plastic bottles from her lifestyle. “Before my husband and I would get the huge Poland Spring packs from Costco,” she said. “Now I have a Sigg bottle that I use — and I’ve been giving them out as gifts, too.”

    But Ospitale doesn’t want to be the only one running around with green on her mind. She tries to influence the people around her to start becoming sustainable. Even her four-year-old daughter is starting to follow suit. “I keep it simple with her,” she explained of the habits that she has taught her daughter. “We use canvas bags, and she helps separate our recycling. Sometimes she’ll even catch me slipping up.”

    Other family members of Ospitale’s can count themselves in on living sustainably. “I’m definitely more conscious than my friends,” said JoJo Guadagno, Ospitale’s nephew, who was shadowing Ospitale during his day off from school. “Now whenever my friends leave the lights on I yell at them to turn it off.”

    Even her coworkers and staff are catching green fever.

    “She’s always e-mailing me articles about ways that I can conserve,” said Laura Young, a junior who works with Ospitale. “Now I’m a lot more conscious of how I recycle and waste water.”

    Ospitale is a founder of a “green” discussion group based on the book “Gorgeously Green.” She and her friends, who include a woman whose house and two cars run completely on converted food waste, come together once a month to find ways to increase their sustainability. They chat over some organic food and non-bottled water as they discuss the sustainable measures in each of their lives. “We try to solve each others’ problems,” she said. “Because of the group, I’ve stopped using paper towels and plates. I even own green nail polish.”

    “She really thinks before she acts,” said Jacqueline Taylor, a coworker and fellow green group member. She and Ospitale participate in Golden Earthworm, a community share agriculture program on Long Island. “She does the research to make sure what she’s doing is really worth it.”

    Ospitale’s influence has stretched to her job at Stony Brook University. Through Campus Dining, she’s helped initiate Trim Trax, a way to track and thus reduce the amount of food waste at school. The food waste is categorized in plastic bins, which are recorded by volume. Some of these food bins will soon be used to feed the new Roth food composter. Ospitale also started tray-less brunch at Kelly and H-Quad’s dining centers. “It’s less waste, less water and less washing,” she said of the initiative.

    “It’s surprising to see how much I’ve done,” she said as she rattled off the many measures that she has taken to reduce her footprint. “Once you start living it, it’s easy. One small step after another becomes a lot.”

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