If you’ve been at UTSA for the past couple of years, you should be able to recognize all the patches of construction sprinkled around campus. UTSA’s upcoming Science & Engineering Building has steadily been making itself known. Our East Campus parking lot received an expansion. A little way down UTSA Boulevard, another new apartment complex is underway.

It can be safely assumed that all these projects are in preparation for the projected increase of UTSA’s student body in the upcoming decade. While the increasing popularity of our university is exciting, it’s worth noting that UTSA has had to sacrifice some of the natural greenery that surrounds our Main Campus in order to further these efforts.

So is UTSA doing enough to offset their construction efforts?

When the East Campus Lot 3 was completed, a total of 300 trees were planted around San Antonio — 75 of which were planted right around Lot 3. They even redistributed the mulch around Main Campus in order to reuse the natural materials.

While off-campus apartments aren’t under UTSA’s jurisdiction, the new and existing complexes including The Villas at the Rim and the Laurel Glen Apartments have started integrating solar panels as energy sources.

This past summer, UTSA’s Office of Sustainability was awarded $339,125 for their new project #makeUTSAwalkable. This project was brought to fruition after the Environmental Protection Agency declared that Bexar County’s air was not up to their standards. The first sign of #makeUTSAwalkable is the upcoming grand opening of the Tito Bradshaw Bicycle Repair and the pathway construction leading up to it.

UTSA’s Office of Sustainability has an upcoming strategic plan that should outline even more environmental projects from 2019-2023.

With all these projects, it’s very comforting to see our university as a part of the solution, but there’s always room for improvement. I feel that the Roadrunner Cafe would be a great addition to UTSA’s environmental efforts. The cafe isn’t very vegetarian or vegan-friendly. Meat-based sandwiches and pizza are the most consistent meals, neither of which is a particularly healthy option. Not only is this troublesome for students with different diets, but it also restricts students from participating in the easiest way to reduce their carbon footprint.

UTSA is putting in a lot of effort and is off to an amazing start down the road of environmentalism. With the administration doing its part, students have to hold up their end of the bargain as well.

With the estimated population growth, using the alternative transportation methods that UTSA has made available: biking, the free VIA bus passes and campus shuttles are efficient ways to minimize the number of cars on campus and reduce air pollution. Even little steps help, like taking a second to ponder whether your trash is really trash or if it can be recycled or reused. If you have the time, partake in the Sustainability Council’s monthly assembly or stop by the Green Society’s meetings to learn how to become more involved in keeping our campus and city green and clean.

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