Big Green Bus helps spread environmental awareness

Published: Jul. 9, 2013 at 3:58 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 10, 2013 at 9:54 AM CDT
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BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Visitors to the Grand Biloxi were seeing "green" on Tuesday. The Big Green Bus is a student-run environmental project from Dartmouth College in New Hampshire, and it visited the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

A dozen college students are touring America, sharing lessons about the benefits of "going green" and learning about the various environmental issues facing different communities.

Wherever it parks, the Big Green Bus attracts attention. On this stop, at the Grand Biloxi, it's the focal point of an environmental awareness exhibit.

"This summer, we are traveling the country and we are learning about sustainability and environmental issues in different areas. And how they affect different communities," said Meegan Daigler, the 21-year-old manager of the Big Green Bus project.

Big Green runs on bio-diesel. Solar panels transfer power to ten batteries which convert the sun's energy to electricity.

"Solar powers the fridge and all the electronics. So, all these outlets. They are all powered by solar panels," said Daigler.

The students travel light, with just a few belongings onboard.

"It's amazing how little you can live with during a summer," Daigler explained, as she showed visitors the small shelves where students stash their things. "But it's actually pretty awesome. It's nice having fewer belongings."

"Teaching our children just what they need to know. And how this earth was here for them," said Martha Boyce, who set-up a booth representing Horticulture for Humanity.

She encourages growing greens and flowers and food.

"We distribute all the seeds. Please take as many as you like. That's what your job is. My job is to give them. Your job is to plant and share it with others," said Boyce.

Grand Biloxi hosted The Big Green bus. It's parent company, Caesar's Entertainment, encourages going green.

"Since 2004, we've spent over $70 million on energy retrofits throughout our 40 properties. So, we focus on lighting that's green and just conservation of water and energy," said Grand Biloxi GM, Jonathan Jones.

Jones says corporate culture is changing when it comes to going green. He says in the past, too many company executives thought it cost too much money to go green.

But he says nowadays, they find they can actually save money.

"So, that sort of creates the win-win that corporations look for," he said.

Jones says "going green" at Grand Biloxi means installing energy efficient lighting, plumbing fixtures that conserve water, and recycling everything they can.

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