sustainability

Going Green at FSU

August 21, 2015 in Alive Campus, Campus Life

Going green and making the effort to sustain resources has become increasingly popular at universities. FSU is no exception to this, and has worked even harder at doing so in the recent years. With multiple green clubs and resource conservation options offered along the campus, there is no excuse for students not to participate in going green. After doing some detailed research on how FSU participates, I found several unique ways in which it works to eliminate waste, sustain resources, and maintain a clean environment.

Garnet and Gold Team Eliminates Waste at Doak

Garnet and Gold Team Eliminates Waste at Doak

Recycling Bins: There are recycling bins located all over the campus. With easy access to these bins, it’s easy for every student to participate in going green by simply recycling an empty water bottle rather than tossing it in the trash bin. There are also bins for paper products to be disposed and recycled separately, in addition to ones designated for bottles and cans only. The recycling team visits the paper bins each week to collect office paper to eventually be reused for different purposes.

Garnet and Gold Goes Green: This is a green club offered at FSU, in which students specifically work around the stadium. About 30 to 40 volunteer participate in cleaning Doak before and during the football games. This helps to reduce the mass litter that the crowd brings on game days.

Green Fund: This is an organization that contributes in assisting environmental progress at FSU. The projects are student led and essentially focus on reducing the amount of waste generated on the campus.

Hydration Systems: All of the buildings on campus have water fountains that are specifically built to fill reusable water bottles. New ones have recently been installed in all three libraries on the campus.

Recyclable Bin

Recyclable Bin

ReCycle: ReCycle is a campus bike program offered to students at the beginning of every summer. The idea is for a student to rent a bike to conveniently get around without the use of a car. It only costs $35 for the entire semester, and includes a lock, light, and helmet. This is a great means of transportation, as several students do use bikes since the campus is compact and does not necessarily require a car. Bike parking is located in several spots outside each of the buildings for convenience.

Grounds: This is the department at FSU that maintains the athletic fields across campus, covering 547 acres of land. A simple way in which they eliminate wastes is reusing concrete from construction projects to reduce their amount of landfill.

With a variety of ideas that FSU offers to go green, it’s obvious of how important a notion this is for college campuses in general. Students have increasingly immersed themselves into these habits of recycling and eliminating waste as much as possible. I have personally noticed that most students at FSU carry around refillable water bottles as opposed to disposable ones, which can significantly go a long way. If people continue to participate in these practices, going green across campuses will be a huge success.

Going Green at VMI

January 13, 2015 in Alive Campus, Campus Life

recycling

 

It was funny when I got this topic on how sustainable my school is. I honestly did not have many ideas as to what I would talk about because I never felt that our school seemed to care that much about going green. At the same time, maybe I wasn’t paying attention to it.

Now, I’m not saying I don’t recycle or that we don’t have recycling bins for stuff around the school because we do, but apart from that I felt like there wasn’t much else to it. So I decided to do a little research when I got this topic. I typed in recycling on my school’s webpage and I was surprised at what I found and interested in what they had to say as well.

VMI (Virginia Military Institute) admitted on the webpage that in the past they did not do a very good job at decreasing the amount of waste they had. For instance, it said that “in five out of the past six years, VMI sent over 500 tons of waste to the landfill.” They even have a bar graph to show the amount of waste in tons that they disposed of each year and surprisingly it has slightly gone down in the past few years.

Along with showing their amount of waste that they could have been recycling, they include links to what you can recycle, where to recycle, where the recycling goes, News and Events, and a FAQs page as well. VMI does a fairly decent job at relaying the message out online on what and where you should be recycling. I have even made sure I have recycled the things I know they have bins for like plastic bottles and cardboard boxes. We even have a club that is all about recycling and they make sure all of the recyclables actually get recycled.

Additionally, VMI participates in the RecycleMania Tournament and the Gameday Challenge. However, I feel like they lack in the area of trying to promote it because I have never see any flyers about it or even heard of it until I looked it up on their webpage. I think that in order for VMI to be greener they need to do a better job at promoting recycling and getting the word out besides online, because without awareness no one will care or even realize that the school is trying to be green. I didn’t even know about some of the recycling facts about my school until I looked on their website and not everyone goes on to the VMI website to look up information about recycling.

Overall, VMI tries to be aware of the fact that they are not as green as they should be and they even admit it and display it on their webpage with a bar graph. I think it is a great thing that they actually realize that they could do better and are putting effort into trying to be greener. Therefore, my school may be lacking in its sustainability but it gets an A for effort for trying to be more sustainable.

Going Green at Boston University

August 8, 2014 in Alive Campus, Campus Life, Health

sustainability at bu

Recently, my school, Boston University, has become increasingly active within the global green movement. BU promotes sustainability and eco-friendly living–and the school’s collective efforts have already paid off! The statistics can be astounding–just consider how much energy it takes to operate a gigantic, 16,000-person (not including staff and faculty!) institution. But BU representatives are super conscious of the impact their school contributes. And that is exactly why new, innovative programs and promotions have been implemented throughout the campus to reduce that large impact. Everyone’s hard work and cooperation genuinely make a difference and show how important and effective it is to be conscious of your energy-related decisions.

In 2008, BU first introduced a more formal sustainability program called the Sustainability Committee, which oversees all energy-saving efforts within the institution. The Sustainability Committee breaks down their eco-friendly actions into several different categories, from Climate Action to Food and Water to Green Buildings.

sustainability festival

A poster for a BU Sustainability Festival that offered info about current green updates, freebies, and fun!

Generally conserving energy and reducing energy use are two things BU has done successfully since the initiation of the committee. Despite the fact that BU has increased in size (additional dorms, classrooms, research space, etc) by 14% since 2006, the school’s total energy consumption has decreased by 5%. And in 2012, the university set its sights on reducing the total energy consumption by 2006, which they hope to carry out in the next three years.

Recycling and waste reduction are also important and prominent on campus. Signs throughout the various BU buildings, particularly dorm rooms, encourage students to participate in the “reduce, reuse, recycle” ideology. In 2006, BU was stuck at a recycling rate of just 3% of all waste. But by 2013, the rate increased dramatically to a commendable 30%. Move-in and move-out times are events where recycling is especially advertised–with all the packaging that is disposed of upon move-in, and all of the unwanted garbage to get rid of at move-out, these times are when waste disposal should be most heavily monitored. BU’s Green Team now partners with Scarlet Squad volunteers (who help organize move-in and move-out) to ensure that everyone does their part in recycling.

Finally, green food services are super prominent on campus. BU is famous for its fantastic, eco-friendly dining halls and food courts. The school has earned three different 4-star ratings and one 3-star rating from the Green Restaurant Association–that makes us the first university to receive a 4-star rating! Dining halls on campus encourage students to only take what they will eat, and extra food is reused appropriately. Make A Difference Monday at the dining halls helps reduce energy and waste–every Monday, dining halls do not serve red meat (which is notoriously less green to produce and serve than other meats) and offer locally grown food (signs even tell you where the food you’re eating came from!) Some students complain about the program, but it is a great way to raise awareness and to reduce the university’s footprint. There are also Green Team members stationed at trash and recycling cans in dining areas. These volunteers help patrons by showing them in which bin each piece of their garbage should go (it sounds straightforward, but at BU we have at least 4 different options: glass and plastic recyclables, paper recyclables, objects that can be decomposed, and objects that can’t). It’s just another way that BU shows how eco-conscious we are!

Sustainability @ BU

January 24, 2014 in Alive Campus, Campus Life, Colleges

Striving for sustainability at BU!

Striving for sustainability at BU!

Being sustainable, especially in today’s world, is very important. And at a large college like Boston University with 30,000 undergraduate and graduate students, it can be relatively easy to leave a large environmental footprint. But, new and simple sustainability efforts throughout BU’s campus has certainly helped the university’s environmental footprint and has encouraged students to live sustainably as well.

BU’s Sustainability Program is comprised of many different groups on campus that help provide students and faculty with all types of ways to “be green”. The sustainability program at BU is made up of Sustainability@BU, Dining Services Sustainability, and the Sustainability Committee (which includes the Sustainability Steering Committee and four working groups: Recycling and Waste Management, Energy Conservation, Sustainable Building and Facility Operations, and Communications and Outreach).

BU’s faculty and students have focused many research projects, scholarships, and curriculum to sustainability and the idea of being green and reducing the university’s environmental footprint. According to the Sustainablity@BU website (www.bu.edu/sustainability), “Sustainability@BU, housed within Facilities Management & Planning, is broad in scope with its fundamental goal to reduce the University’s environmental footprint through campus infrastructure upgrades and by connecting students, faculty, and staff to participate in and support these efforts.” Sustainability@BU is primarily focused on seven key areas including, energy conservation, climate action planning, green building design, recycling and waste reduction, communications and outreach, food, and transportation.

Getting involved and helping reduce the university’s environmental footprint can be easy. There are “Green Teams”, sustainability clubs, and even an “Earth House” in BU’s South Campus area where students can live! There is also a Sustainability Resource Center located in BU’s School of Education that is an awesome resource for both students and faculty hoping to learn and get more involved in sustainability at BU!

The Sustainability@BU team also holds on event on campus each month to “focus on one simple action and provide the metrics behind the CO2 savings.” And, Sustainability@BU often teams up with Carbonrally, “an organization that encourages team-based participation in various environmentally-friendly challenges.”

Another perk, the team is always handing out free gear on BU’s campus (especially during the first few weeks of school when freshman are really looking for lots of free BU gear!) Like, sustainable and reusable BU shopping bags (I have A LOT and I really do use them all the time!), sustainable and reusable coffee cups, sustainable and reusable water bottles, and much more.

BU also has “greened” its entire campus by using hand dryers and no paper towels in every bathroom on campus, encouraging students to donate to Goodwill stores instead of throwing away old belongings in a landfill (Goodwill, Not Landfill), and through Composting@BU students can easily sort their “trash” into a recycling bin, trash/landfill bin, and compost bin.

Clearly, being sustainable and green is important to BU’s faculty and students. Sustainability@BU’s slogan is “It’s what you do.” I think this truly speaks to the nature of BU’s continuing and ever-changing sustainability efforts. Not only is the campus green and environmentally sustainable, but also the students and faculty have many opportunities to reduce not only their environmental footprint but the footprint of the entire university.

Emerson & the Environment

December 7, 2013 in Campus Life, Colleges

Emerson Recycles

Emerson Recycles

One of Emerson’s biggest mandates is to cultivate sustainability and environmentally friendly lifestyle on campus. Almost everything at our school, from the cleaning products used to the food to the electricity, has been purchased with its environmental impact in mind.

A few of our buildings–the Colonial Building and Piano Row–meet Leadership and Environmental Design standards, which is a green building certification organization. Our other buildings are in the process of being remodeled to also attain LEED recognition. 

Emerson is also a part of Green Power Partnernship, a collective of communities that “use green power in amounts that meet or exceed EPA’s Green Power Community purchase requirements” (www.epa.gov). In 2010 and 2011, Emerson used more sustainable energy than all other schools in the Great Northeast Athletic Conference.

Across campus, our lights shut off automatically when we leave a room. On every floor of every building, their are multiples recycling bins for plastic, glass, and paper. In total, Emerson recycles glass, metal, plastic, paper, cardboard, rechargeable batteries, compact fluorescent light bulbs, and, inkjet and other types of cartridges. Emerson avoids selling bottled water and has put in several water fountains for reusable water bottles to encourage sustainability in this area. Additionally, a great amount of leftover food is composted, including the napkins. 

There are six organizations that students can be a part of to get more involved in sustainability issues: Alternative Spring Break, Earth Emerson, Emerson Peace and Social Justice, Environmental Communicators, IMAGINE, and the Office of Service Learning and Community Action. Each of these organizations take different approaches to promoting sustainability, but all have the same end goal of better taking care of the earth. In the Colonial Residence Hall, one of the floors is designated as the “Green Floor,” where students who are passionate and committed to living an intentionally sustainable lifestyle may choose to live. Those who live on this floor host informational events, sharing with other students practical ways they can make their lives more environmentally friendly.

 As a student, there are several classes about the environment to take. Among them are: Ecology and Conservation, Climate Change, Environmental Ethics, Plants and People, and Science and the Politics of Water. Both the faculty and students at Emerson are passionate about keeping conversation going regarding ways we can better steward our environment.

Sources: Emerson College Website: www.emerson.edu