By Anh Nguyen II Contributing Writer
F&M Diplomatic Congress’ second annual Sustainability Summit was held last Saturday, at Stager Hall. The goal of the summit was to facilitate communication between sustainably-minded campus and community groups made up of students, faculty, professional staff, and leaders of the Wohlsen Center for the Sustainable Environment, in order to accomplish current and future projects that will involve F&M’s sustainability as a whole.
The event was attended by about 50 students and consisted of four panels: Urban Planning, Food & Waste, Energy, and Campus Initiatives. Each panel had speakers from the Lancaster community, F&M students involved in sustainable activities, and college officers from the Wohlsen Center and Dining Services to talk with participants about their endeavors and answer any questions they may have.
The first panel, Urban Planning, had three panelists: Mona Mondo, recycling coordinator and accounts retention representative at Penn Waste, a South Central PA firm focused on commercial and residential waste disposal and recycling options; Fritz Schroeder, director of Urban Greening from Lancaster County Conservancy; and Tom Simpson, sustainability coordinator at F&M’s own Facilities and Operations. The speakers explained their roles and what their organizations have been accomplishing regarding sustainability in Lancaster City and in relation to F&M in particular. Both Penn Waste and Lancaster County Conservancy have had projects in partnership with the College to improve the area surrounding F&M and the school’s waste disposal. Simpson, in particular, has been working on these partnerships, as well as composing, recycling, with Sodexo — F&M’s food supplier, and the school’s growing bicycle program.
Answering questions on projects being carried out for recycling water around the city, Schroeder talked about the green alleys being built around the area and the College, which would help capture rain and snow water to be filtered and put to residential use. Simpson added that the College itself has several green roofs (view here)for this purpose of capturing water. Get commercial roofing companies to help. Both the Lancaster County Conservancy and Penn Waste also has educational outreach programs to inform the general public about sustainability and how they could live more sustainably.
The second panel, Food and Waste, had representatives from the First- Year Class’ Sustainability Committee; Briana Krewson ’17, a student working on F&M’s Dirt Army, a gardening project; and Drew Niemann, general manager of F&M Dining Services. The First-Year Class’ Sustainability Committee just relaunched the Meatless Monday program at the Dining Hall, to raise awareness on the water and other resources overused in producing the meat we consume everyday. Krewson is the sole student in the food system and supplying produce to Fair Trade Café. Sodexo, F&M’s contracted dining provider, has also collaborated with the College on many sustainablity-focused projects. According to Niemann, Sodexo tries its best to get its food supply only from local suppliers – within a 100 mile radius of Lancaster. He also stressed that students are the drivers of food sustainability on campus, stating Sodexo’s willingness to listen to students’ concerns and ideas to improve its services.
According to Molly Cadwell ’17, the student in charge of the Summit, DipCon’s Sustainability Committee started organizing this event in the fall semester, reaching out to professors, students, and community members to serve as panelists. They also drew panel themes from timely topics that students may be interested in discussing.
In the future, the Committee would look to improve the publicity leading up to the event so that it would be able to reach out to more members of the campus community. For the next Summit, they are also looking for a way to continue the discussion after the event to keep participants involved and thinking about sustainability.
Junior Anh Nguyen is a contributing writer. Her email is anguyen1@ fandm.edu.