Sustainability: Fredonia's new Tradition
Published: Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Updated: Wednesday, April 28, 2010 17:04
On its 40th birthday this year, Earth Day has lost some of its gusto. Increasingly, environmental mindedness is coupled with a specifically correct form of consumer shopping, buying into the travesty of a booming industry created off the tag-line of 'organic' food and an agenda that suggests reshaping our individual lifestyles will save us all from fiery destruction from a warming planet.
Lame. In fact, it's downright wrong.
Last week, Fredonia released its 2010 Sustainability Report to Campus and many details of the campus's green initiatives reflect a sincere consciousness of the issues on behalf of the multiple sub-committees of administrators, faculty, staff and students that make up the Sustainability Committee. These folks, whose day positions reflect the true heartbeat of the campus, have made a new name for themselves as the monitors of all things green on campus.
In seeing such abundant proactive ventures, it begets the question of how environmental mindedness can reach every member of the campus community. For every ten students sitting on a sustainability sub-committee, there are another few hundred students who are not the least bit attached to a sustainable lifestyle.
This week The Leader has offered reporting on botched recycling efforts and in general, a lack of education on eco-friendly behaviors that should by now just be a nature of habit. There is a deeper story to the Recyclmania contest that has provoked fabulous publicity for Fredonia. This year's Dumpster Dive showed that students are recycling far more, but also revealed some glaring unknowns in the realm of campus recycling.
No matter what students absorbed from participating in Earth Week, there is a certain amount of self-examination that succeeds that activity. More often than not, we are educated on an issue, pontificate for a bit, becoming enraged over certain injustices and then put the issue to bed in lieu of all the other distractions of the here and now that consume our lives.
Most of us can remember a Fredonia without recycling bins in every hallway, classroom and dorm building. FSA recently switched food providers, moving their contract with SYSCO to Mapleville Farms, in turn greatly reducing the miles our campus food travels before landing on the plate. For those set to graduate this or in the next two years, we can take a strange sense of pride in knowing we witnessed the forefront of a campus-wide initiative to make not only success, but sustainability a tradition.
For the first time at Fredonia, next year's incoming freshman will be given a short presentation on living environmentally conscious on campus. They will also be the first class to receive reusable tote bags in the effort to rid Fredonia's campus of plastic bags.
These are promising efforts toward establishing environmental mindedness in the class years to come. Even so, if we do not work together to stay environmentally educated and active, there is little doubt that students may fall back into old habits, i.e. neglecting recycling bins, wasting food, leaving lights on -- all the habits that transformed current students from simpletons to the ideal state of environmental mindedness. A regression is certainly possible, but let's hope we are proven wrong.
The Leader's Environmental Wishlist
In seeing Fredonia's most recent environmental initiatives, staff members collected some thoughts on campus improvements we hope to see for the student body five years from now. Hopefully some will share our vision.
- Perhaps not enough 'green' promotion is being done campus-wide. Tying the Convocation theme with Earth Week is a great start, but bringing in more widely known speakers could draw attention to Fredonia.
- A firm commitment to abolishing plastic trays and plastic bags.
- Let's see the Green Initiative Fund pass. This would really help push Fredonia in the right direction. It would be awesome to see the campus use 'green' sources of energy to power itself.
- A push for a wider breadth of accepted recyclable materials. The bins are everywhere, but certain staple items like Pepsi cups from Connections Food Court cannot be recycled. Change the product, change the options.
- Make recycling at Connections Food Court easier. Instead of having two garbage tubes with a small tube in the middle for returnables only, one of those tubes should designated for Zero-Sort recycling.
- Eliminate bottled water sales on campus. If this means breaching a contract with the FSA's sole beverage provider, Pepsi-Cola, then so be it.
- Look into the feasibility of a food waste compost facility. Work study students could put time and effort into establishing proper protocol and documenting food waste on campus. Not to mention, the campus could churn out intense amounts of compost that could be donated to area gardeners, farmers or used here for campus greenscapes.