Bioswales help promote sustainability on campus

Alana Tinsley

Georgia Southern University will aim to improve the preservation and upkeep of campus this year with the addition of bioswales, overseen by the Center for Sustainability.

A bioswale is a biofilter that is constructed to remove pollution from surface runoff water. This natural drainage course consists of a marshy natural landscape, filled with vegetation, riprap or compost in order function accordingly.

“Bioswales are an alternative route [for water runoff] that has created native habitats that dramatically increase biodiversity and also improves the quality of water,” Lissa Leege, director of Center for Sustainability, said.

The bioswales on campus allow Statesboro’s natural habitats to thrive without disrupting nature as well as having a better quality of runoff water by the reduction of pollution and silt.

The bioswales that have been implemented throughout campus have been a helpful tool not only for enhancing the environment, but as a learning device too. They allow microbiology classes to test water samples, and are able to use nature as their classroom too.

“Being able to test the quality of water in the ‘swales’ allows me, and my classmates, to get hands on experience,” Stephen Mendoza, senior biology major, said.

GS already has several bioswales in place and with the sustainability grants, the university is able to continue adding more bioswales around the campus.

In 2015 GS’ stormwater Improvements include the addition of two bioswales, one at Akins Blvd, and one along Fair Rd., Herty Dr. and Chandler Rd. Together the two projects were awarded almost $50,000 and will be completed this year with interpretive signage.

The Center for Sustainability has done a lot for the university, according to Leege.

“[The university] has a lot of commitment to have a natural environment and interest in beautification as well,” Leege said.

Leege adds that GS makes it a standard to care for the environment, and that without the Center for Sustainability and student fees there would not be funds to make it a priority.

Matthew White, junior mechanical engineering major, agrees that the bioswales are helpful with runoff versus using drainage ditches.

White said, “I’m okay with student fees going towards bioswales because it helps make the campus look nice.”