BY Catherine Brown ’16
Staff writer

The College recently released a Sustainability Master Plan to make the campus more eco-friendly. The plan, which was approved by the Board of Trustees in October, was created through the efforts of a Sustainability Task Force. This task force consists of students, faculty and staff and was created in 2010 under the direction of John Burness ’67, interim President of the College.

According to Sarah Dawson, Director of the Carolyn W. & Robert S. Wohlsen Center for Sustainable Environment, the task force developed a master plan for the College by contacting peer institutions and by researching the technology necessary for enacting sustainability initiatives on campus. They also recruited environmental consultants near the end of the Summer to assist in finalizing a 200-page master plan.

“The plan first went to the faculty to be endorsed, and then to the Board of Trustees in October,” explained Dawson. “They enthusiastically endorsed the master plan and even freed up some financial resources so we can start working on our goals.”

The plan includes a number of initiatives, which will be enacted in various phases according to their priority.

A standing Sustainability Committee, which consists of fifteen students, faculty and staff, will oversee the process of implementing the plan.

The plan contains a variety of goals encompassing broad categories such as food, procurement, water, grounds, education and outreach, energy, waste, and buildings.

The Committee is hoping some of the initiatives outlined in the plan will be in place by the end of the semester.

“Already, all academic departments should have new copy machines that automatically make double-sided documents,” Dawson said. The machines also have a setting that scans documents and turns them directly into PDF files from soda PDF to avoid printed copies. Dawson said that there will also be workshops available this semester for faculty members to encourage them to use less paper in their courses or make them entirely paper-free.

In addition, Dawson said that water bottle filling stations will be installed around campus this semester to encourage the campus community to reduce the number of disposable bottles used. There will also be composting areas in the College Houses, as well as training sessions so students learn which materials can and cannot be composted.

“We’re hoping all of these will be accomplished by the end of this semester,” Dawson said. “It’s been deemed possible to have them completed by late April.”

Sustainability efforts will continue over the summer, with members of the Wohlsen Center as well as Facilities and Operations working on a variety of projects.

In the Fall, the committee will choose which other high-priority initiatives in the plan to enact next.

In addition to sustainability efforts directly affecting the F&M campus, there are also plans to reach out to the Lancaster community and educate them on the importance of going green.

This will include workshops for elementary and middle school students to learn about biodiversity and composting, as well as seasonal cooking workshops to encourage people to eat healthier and use locally-grown food.

Currently, the master plan contains goals for the next 15-20 years.

“The master plan is meant to be flexible,” explained Dawson. “There will always be more that we can do to become more environmentally friendly.”

Although the Sustainability Committee exists to ensure the plan is enacted, all members of the campus community are asked to become more conscious of how their actions affect the environment.

“When it comes down to it, we need everyone to pitch in and do their part,” Dawson said. “So if you see a recycling bin right next to the trash, use the recycling!”

Questions? Email Catherine at

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