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Belmont goes green with Conscious College Road Tour

Belmont’s colors may be red and navy blue, but on Monday the campus got just a little bit more green.

The Conscious College Road Tour, a 16-stop university advocacy tour affiliated with the environmental group Turning Green, temporarily rooted at Belmont with a veritable harvest of eco-friendly products and tips to offer.

The tour featured two events, an informational fair on McWhorter plaza in the afternoon and an evening town hall in Massey Boardroom. Both appealed to college students with a trendy feel, approachable volunteers and, naturally, free food.

“It’s important to reach college students because when you get into college is when you’re first becoming a consumer on your own,” said junior Lindsay Millward.

Millward is the vice president of Belmont’s conservation club, ECO–Environmental Conscious Organization–and the one responsible for getting the tour to campus.

In February, she submitted an application to bring the CCRT to Belmont, which promptly received approval in March. The organization cited Belmont’s previous sustainability efforts–such as the LEED certification of the Wedgewood Academic Center–as a reason for its acceptance, she said.

Additionally, Millward said the student body generally was unaware of these and other efforts, which have made Belmont all the more attractive.

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Anyone walking by McWhorter plaza Monday would have seen the fleet of brightly colored tables littered with unfamiliar brand products and cardboard displays like an amped-up science fair.

The primary purpose of this exhibition, and of the tour as a whole, was to educate students about the impact their buying choices make, and to expose them to alternative options, such as non-GMO modified food or organic shampoos.

Volunteers stood behind the tables, blooming with facts and figures about all sorts of green topics.

“This is important because they’re teaching college students how to consciously choose everything they do,” said freshman volunteer Claudia Lenart.

This tour represents a broader effort by ECO to branch out and integrate the Nashville community into its endeavors. The club has already started to build partnerships with other local colleges, including Middle Tennessee State and Vanderbilt universities, with the hopes of eventually tackling more large-scale projects, Millward said.

But, until then, Millward will keep working to cultivate interest in ECO and get “people engaged in a local scale,” she said.

For the club, this has historically included convos and clean-up projects, including last year’s adoption of a portion of Richland Creek.

Indeed, as long as there are students like Millward and Lenart around, it really is easy being green.

“We have one body and one Earth, so rock on and use it right,” Lenart said.

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