LEAF adopts a highway on the road to sustainability

DUBUQUE — Among the many ways of making the world a better place to live is the idea of sustainability: Using resources in a way that benefits both the present population and the coming generations.

Loras Environmental Action Forum (LEAF) is driven in part by its aim to promote sustainability practices as well as ethical conservation. LEAF, a student organization formed in the mid-1990s, recently enrolled in the Iowa Department of Transport’s Adopt-A-Highway program. Sponsors adopt a stretch of a highway and care for it by “doing litter removal or beautification in the ditches on either side of the road.”

For LEAF, this is a wonderful opportunity not only to live up to its core business of outdoor recreation and service, but also to promote LEAF as an organization since its comeback last year.

“The DNR provides equipment and even signs with our organization’s name on it posted at our stretch on Highway 52 just south of Dubuque,” said Samantha Eckrich. “This is a great opportunity for LEAF to be engaged in the community, actively making a visible difference. Plus, it provides a chance to promote the group and get our name out there,” said Samantha Eckrich.

In adopting a highway, LEAF joins about 1,274 other groups that participate in the program each year. LEAF is helping keep the environment clean and pollution-free, and its participation in the program is a testament to  the college’s commitment to giving back  through service.

When commenting on their comeback as an organization and plans for the future, Eckrich, on behalf of LEAF, expressed interest in partnering “with other organizations looking for volunteer opportunities for
additional clean-up or beautification projects.”

Beyond participating in the Adopt-A-Highway program, LEAF has established itself on campus as a sustainability-focused organization by sponsoring and hosting many other events.

Such events include the Recyclemania campaign and the food audit in the school cafeteria, both of which were held this past spring. In addition, LEAF has, on numerous occasions, partnered with the College Activity Board (CAB) to sponsor such outdoor events as the recent canoe trip.

LEAF started the year in full swing but intends to keep the momentum up by hosting other events such as a hike on Oct. 26 and a bonfire in partnership with FOCUS on Oct. 31. Going forward, Samantha urges others to join LEAF in their efforts of promoting sustainability practices.

“We also ask that the Loras community be aware of the sustainability practices going on around campus —the sustainable garden, recycling efforts, educational signs that will be posted, and sustainability movie showings, just to mention a few,” Eckrich said. “By educating ourselves, we are given the freedom to make ethical choices to make this campus and the broader community a better place.”

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