The College’s Sustainability Task Force had its final public forum Thursday.
The forums led to the creation of a 92-page plan detailing how the College can become more sustainable and more environmentally friendly. The plan has been put into place for faculty review and approval.
Once under faculty review, the faculty can amend the document with any changes, suggestions, and amendments via comments and emails. The Task Force is also hiring a business consultant, who is currently being chosen from several different firms, to help put forth a business plan that the administration requires.
Each department must review the plan and approve it before it can be put into action. This plan also requires the faculty be able to figure out ways to make their departments more environmentally friendly. In order to have the opinions of everyone in the department heard, plans will be discussed at department meetings.
There are some changes that need to be made in order to help each department become more sustainable. Some of the major issues that cause the most amount of waste the departments have to deal with are packaging and effective recycling.
“We have to address how items are packaged, such as if they come in a lot of cardboard or Styrofoam,” said Maria Cimilluca, associate vice president for facilities management and campus planning. “Some of it must be done on our part to find locations to recycle things, such as batteries‚which were not being recycled properly for a period of time but are now being recycled‚ and have people take Styrofoam and turn it into Styrofoam packing.”
Money is a concern for the task force, especially in regard to maintenance. The task force is attempting to spend one and a half million dollars, mainly from loan funds that can be used for many different projects. The money for maintenance would be used to either fund more research in solar and wind energy, or help install more “green” or environmentally friendly roofs, such as the ones on Bonchek College House and Schander residence hall. However, the project does not work as well on slate roofs.
Another issue the task force addressed was the idea of food waste and turning the campus and the students towards more sustainable eating practices. The dining hall is particularly a concern.
“Most of our food waste comes from KIVO, due to the fact that they throw everything away,” said Thomas Simpson, Millport liaison and sustainability coordinator.
The task force believed it would be better to have a “dirt army” of students who would grow their own foods here on campus and either sell or give it away to the 25 percent of families in need in Lancaster to help eliminate food waste.
“It is comforting to people, students especially, that they are able to help give back to the community and especially those in need,” Cimilluca said. “Also, the dirt army’s food was very good when people bought from it, that if we brought it back more people would be willing to get food from it.”
Another issue of concern was the eating habits of students who live off campus.
“We have less of an idea of what the food is like for students as they get older, because many of them live off campus and are not on meal plans, so they do not have to eat at the dining hall frequently or even at all,” said Shawn Jenkins, special assistant to the dean of the college for strategic projects. “We are hoping the house system will get stronger, so more students choose to live in the College houses as they get older and we hope that being green will be a vehicle for this.”