Thursday, February 19, 2009
Baker University students and faculty who are passionate about environmental issues are encouraging others to be more conscious of their effects on our planet.
Issues pertaining to the protection and sustainability of the environment continue to be top priorities for not just legislation but also for smaller communities such Baldwin City and Baker.
The campus has recycling programs and environmental organizations geared toward "going green."
Assistant Professor of Biology Randy Miller is the chairman of the President's Sustainability Committee.
The committee includes University President Pat Long, Provost Randy Pembrook, two student representatives and other faculty members.
The committee was formed in order to look for ways to take care of the campus and make it more sustainable.
Miller said the committee is trying not to step on the toes of other conservation efforts on campus such as the Earth We Are organization and the recycling program.
Miller said the group is more focused on the bigger picture.
"We are considering the designs of new buildings and energy usage strategies that will keep costs from going up," he said.
Miller said one way students can be more environmentally conscious is by taking individual responsibility for recycling.
His other ideas include keeping enough air in car tires so they use less gas, turning out the lights when leaving a room and taking shorter showers.
Miller said students also can purchase normal items with a consideration of how they were produced and how they plan to dispose of them.
"All the classical, practical things apply," Miller said. "Students can carpool or join an organization like Earth We Are or student senate. Hunt for ways to conserve and insist that new products be designed to be more efficient."
Director of Natural Areas Roger Boyd is in charge of the university's recycling program.
He said work-study students who are self-sufficient run the program.
Boyd said despite the accessibility of the recycling bins behind the Living and Learning Center and Horn and Markham apartments, most of what students are throwing away can be recycled.
Boyd said some environmentally friendly ideas he has for students is to eat everything they take at the cafeteria and to make sure when they are doing laundry, they are washing a full load.
"All it takes is a conscious effort and the want to be better than the previous generations," he said.
Boyd said the key to reducing greenhouse gases in the atmosphere is to reduce consumables.
"Our Earth is not sustainable if you're only concerned about yourself," Boyd said. "I am passionate about reducing consumables in order to leave this world a better place."
Earth We Are President Justine Greve said the organization is really focusing on its trayless campaign right now but it has also started its RecycleMania program.
Greve said the group is not having a lot of luck getting the campaign through the administration, so EWA is encouraging people to make the personal choice not to use a tray.
About 100 people have signed a petition for the cafeteria to go trayless.
"I was actually surprised by how willing people were to sign it without even having to be persuaded," Greve said.
Greve said an easy way for students to act more eco-friendly is by recycling more and using less energy.
She also encourages students to buy items that use less packaging material.
"Environmental issues affect everyone because we all live on this Earth," Greve said. "And in some cases, it can be good economically, like with the trayless campaign. We will actually save money."