Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Eco-Action Proposes GU Conservation Strategies

ECO-ACTION Eco-Action Proposes GU Conservation Strategies By Cherise Williams Special to The Hoya

The GUSA Assembly unanimously passed a resolution Tuesday supporting environmental suggestions made by Eco-Action to the university, including energy conservation, increased recycling and the institution of an environmental accountability system for university actions.

In the 1999-2000 school year, Eco-Action conducted independent campus environmental audits. Their findings led Eco-Action to call for “GUSA and the campus community to back [their] suggestions to the university” senior representative Ben Anderson (COL ’02) said. Anderson co-sponsored the resolution with Facilities and Housing Committee Chair Ryan Schultz (COL ’02).

Eco-Action President Geoff Johnson (COL ’03) said he hopes the resolution will energize what he calls a currently stagnant environmental discussion between students and administrators. “In our efforts to meet with [University] President [John J.] DeGioia, the university has been far from receptive and surprisingly casual. Maybe this will add to the momentum we’re trying to build,” Johnson said.

Johnson said he is concerned that without calling attention to environmental issues, the administration will not sufficiently consider them when making decisions. “Right now, Georgetown doesn’t seem to be taking many steps toward environmental responsibility . and though this a step in the ight direction, it’s still up to university officials to implement these ideas. All we can do is show students’ opinion.”

But Eco-Action – and now GUSA – hope they can empower the environmental cause by convincing the university to institute a formal environmental accountability system, something it currently lacks. Eco-Action wants the university to have an Environmental Mission Statement in which students are active in the formation and writing stage.

As it currently stands, “if a university environmental [practice] comes up that is questionable, we have nothing to check it with and hold the university responsible for,” Schultz said.

Along with such administrative goals, the resolution also includes, “a lot of little, easy things that can be done to improve our inefficient energy practices,” according to Shultz.

One such idea is the installation of motion-sensor lights in ICC classrooms that would turn off when no one is in the room. Now, those lights stay on all night, primarily for safety reasons.

Eco-Action supporters, though, feel that the motion-sensitive lights in classrooms both conserve energy and have a built-in safety capacity because they would come on whenever someone was in the room. Also, the resolution suggests that all computers in the labs have a sleep mode built into the screen savers so they automatically “sleep” when not in use, conserving energy.

Recycling is another area where Eco-Action thinks the university should make strides. Currently, the university has a contract with university paper supplier Boise-Cascade, a company Eco-Action refers to as having “environmentally unfriendly practices.” Consequently, the resolution suggests that the university “move toward 50 percent post-consumer recycled paper and reconsider their current contract with Boise-Cascade.”

The resolution also calls for more uniformity in recycling practices on campus. According to Schultz, some spots on campus have only glass or plastic recycling bins and none for trash. This becomes a problem when some trash goes into and thus contaminates the bin, preventing its contents from being recycled.

In efforts to educate students about recycling on campus, Eco-Action suggests placing signs near recycling bins about where to put each trash or recyclable material. Also, they are looking into a New Student Orientation education campaign to make students more aware of the importance of recycling and that recycling is a part of D.C. law.

Eco-Action also wants to augment these educative goals and by convincing the College to create an Environmental Studies major. Currently, only a minor for the subject exists.

It would be interdisciplinary and would not require any hiring of new faculty members because enough classes already exist to qualify it as a major.

They are in the process of talking to administrators about the possibility of the major.

– Hoya Staff Writer Kevin Joyce contributed to this report.

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