As a recent university composting initiative grows, campus environmental groups are looking ahead to implement more ambitious sustainability initiatives.
The collaborative effort between the Georgetown University Student Association, Eco-Action and Georgetown Energy is looking to begin the process of weatherizing university townhouses. Weatherization upgrades a house’s energy consumption and efficiency by installing insulating materials.
Colin Doyle (COL ’13), a member of Georgetown Energy, and Eco-Action Multimedia and Marketing Chair Madeleine Collins (COL ’13) are working with non-profit organization Weatherize DC to evaluate their own homes by the end of the spring semester. Once the GUSA sustainability committee and the Magis Row residents raise the necessary funds to assess the houses for a green upgrade, they will begin work. They also can begin reviewing other townhouses with consenting residents. Doyle plans to enter this phase by next summer.
According to Jessie Robbins (SFS ’12), GUSA’s secretary of sustainability, the effort hit a roadblock when the Old Georgetown Board objected to the replacement of wood window frames with fiberglass, an integral step in the weatherization process. Robbins said she is confident that the Board’s opposition will not be a major obstacle.
“We drive cars and don’t have to have a horse, so obviously we can have 21st century standards on some things,” Robbins said.
The coalition has had its most significant success so far in distributing compost bins to 30 student-owned houses located off-campus as part of an initiative that kicked off earlier this year. Participating residents fill their bins with compostable material and members of the Garden Club transport this material to a collection area in Doyle’s backyard. From there, it is transported to the Georgetown Community Gardens for composting.
Doyle hopes to expand the composting effort in the coming months to encompass the rest of the student-owned townhouses and to eventually move onto campus with a compost collection area near Kehoe Field.
Robbins said that the level of collaboration among student organizations toward sustainability projects is higher now than she has ever seen it during her time at Georgetown. In order to take advantage of this cohesiveness, she is working to bring together environmentally-minded students to brainstorm ideas for increasing sustainability in a forum set to be held in November.
Robbins hopes the creative input of students will eventually lead to the creation of a more detailed plan to boost environmental initiatives at Georgetown.
“This will be an incredible forum for student input and student ideas,” she said.