The Campus Environmental Sustainability Project emerged from a collaborative project across two courses in Spring 2016. Professor Michelle Hersh (Global Change Biology) and Professor Nicholas Reksten (Economics of the Ecological Crisis) brought their students together to present a poster and paper session on environmental sustainability at Sarah Lawrence College. The posters and papers below went through a peer review process among the two courses.
Arianna Cooper, Iva Johnson, Kiana Michaan, Zoe Berg, Leyana Dessauer, Jesse Fuentes, Katherine Labadie, Yuci Zhou, Yun Mi Koh, Anna Rossi, Marisa Acosta, Victoria Brown, Hannah Lawson, Jocelyn Zorn, Allyson Panton, Joseph Sterling, Lily Frenette, Jackson Langland, Elena Sinagra, and Zoezra Feldman
The combined version of "A Sustainable Campus for the Future: Proposals for Sarah Lawrence College" comes from a joint project between the students in Economics of the Ecological Crisis and Global Change Biology in Spring 2016, taught by Nicholas Reksten and Michelle Hersh, respectively.
Zoe Berg, Leyana Dessauer, and Jesse Fuentes
Our proposal describes two economically viable and efficient methods of reducing the amount of pre and post-consumer waste produced by the Sarah Lawrence community. Bates dining facility, the largest on-campus dining facility, produces roughly 35 lbs. of organic food waste every day. However, the installation of an easy-to-use composting mechanism, such as the A500 Rocket composter or the Ridan manual composter (both of which are distributed by NATH Sustainability Solutions), and/or the implementation of a larger-scale vermicomposting program, would divert at least 50% of Sarah Lawrence’s organic waste material from reaching landfills, lower campus-wide trash removal and fertilizer costs, and promote sustainability initiatives within the Sarah Lawrence community and surrounding community.
Elena Sinagra, Zoezra Feldman, and Jocelyn Zorn
Energy consumption accounts for thousands of metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions and trillions of dollars spent annually. Due to economically inefficient and environmentally unsustainable practices, much of the energy consumed that is contributing to these statistics is wasted. Sarah Lawrence College has the potential to drastically reduce its energy consumption through simple and effective measures including implementing energy saving lighting practices, installing energy efficient electronic appliances, and installing power saving software on computers. These changes hold the potential to significantly reduce the institution’s carbon emissions while saving costs by lowering energy bills.
Katherine Labadie and Yuci Zhou
This paper discusses the importance of general sustainability practices on college and university campuses, specifically the importance of environmentally sustainable and efficient campus transportation services. The paper looks at how promoting bicycle programs, creating fixed shuttle routes and improving schedules, increasing education on campus sustainability, and investing in more sustainable vehicles can reduce emissions on college campuses. These sustainability efforts are analyzed looking at Sarah Lawrence College to determine how these practices can aid the institution’s environmental efforts.
Arianna Cooper, Iva Johnson, and Kiana Michaan
In the last century, the rise of the globalized economy has come at a tremendously high ecological cost. The global economy’s dependency on the burning of fossil fuels has caused potentially cataclysmic and irreversible climate change. Renewable energy technologies have the ability to dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In order to better protect the planet from impending climate chaos, it is necessary to utilize and encourage increased installation of available renewable energy technologies. Institutions of higher education have a unique opportunity to become leaders in sustainable development. This project proposes the implementation of solar technology, radiator covers, and power-producing exercise machines on the Sarah Lawrence College campus to increase energy efficiency, campus sustainability, and environmental awareness.
Sustainability on college campuses is crucial to educate and prepare the future leaders of a world fraught with the effects of anthropogenic climate change. It is critical that university and college campuses are at the forefront of the transition to renewable energy sources. Sarah Lawrence College has a responsibility to its students, community members, and the planet to adopt environmentally conscious practices to address the reality of climate change in the 21st century. As SLC graduates disperse into the world, their communities will continue to be affected by the devastating impacts of the climate crisis. Thus, it is of equal importance for SLC to inspire and challenge students environmentally as it is to do so intellectually. By receiving a solid basis of environmental education and participating in widespread campus sustainability practices, graduates will have the tools needed to thrive in the world.
Marisa Acosta, Victoria Brown, and Hannah Lawson
Plastic use is gravely detrimental for both the environment and for humans; chemicals in plastic cause poor health effects in humans and endanger wildlife. This study focuses on a major source of plastics use on Sarah Lawrence’s campus: take out containers at the Pub. It evaluates plans for a reusable take out container system on campus and provides suggestions for financing and implementing the plan on campus.
Anna Rossi, Iva Johnson, and Yun Mi Koh
As a campus that has great concern for environmental issues, it is important to find ways in which to engage both students and faculty in working towards a greener campus. The addition of a green roof or biowall to Sarah Lawrence College would be an amazing opportunity to begin building a more eco-friendly community. Green roofs alleviate environmental stressors while a biowall will increase indoor air quality and productivity. Not only do green roofs and biowalls help curb effects of pollution both indoors and out, but either would be an opportunity for continued research into the effects of green technology. With ample flat roof space across campus as well as having the LEED certified Heimbold Visual Arts Center, building a green roof and/or biowall would both guide Sarah Lawrence into a green movement while providing an opportunity for the community to work together towards a greener goal.
Joseph Sterling, Jackson Langland, and Lily Frenette
Water Sustainability at Sarah Lawrence College: Abstract
Excessive water use and poor water management has done great harm to the environment through the introduction of pollutants into freshwater supplies, as well as, increase the risk of extreme weather phenomena such as droughts and storms. To help lessen the environmental footprint of Sarah Lawrence College, we researched a number of strategies to reduce water usage across the campus. Technologies such as dual-flush toilets and low-flow showerheads would not only save the school money, but drastically reduce the amount of water used by across the board. The implementation of rainwater collection systems to provide an additional source for plumbing and landscaping was also discussed. For costs and figures, some comparative studies looked at other institutions with similar plans around the country.
Jocelyn Zorn and Allyson Panton
Sarah Lawrence College is an institution that inspires innovation within its students and teaches them how to understand and act upon the challenges that our ever-changing society raises. Currently, society is presented with some of the largest ecological crises that humans have ever faced, the consequences of which are widespread, affecting everyone on the planet. In order to address environmental devastation, all institutions must re-evaluate their current practices and implement significant changes. No college is better equipped for creating such change than Sarah Lawrence; founded on innovative educational techniques, we possess the knowledge and creativity that can be harnessed to create environmentally sustainable and economically viable policies on campus. One of the most simple and cost-effective ways to reduce the college’s ecological footprint lies within our landscaping practices. The college currently uses an unnecessary amount of water and fossil fuels on maintaining plant species and grassy areas. In order to cut back on water and fossil fuel use, the college can implement basic changes including planting native species, establishing a rain garden, and incorporating Xeriscaping techniques. Replacing the excess of non-native species on campus with native plantings will provide ecological and economic benefits by dramatically reducing the need for watering, fertilizer use, and maintenance. Establishing a rain garden is an aesthetically pleasing solution to improving water quality and mitigating flooding. Xeriscaping is a landscaping alternative that will conserve resources, save money, beautify our campus and provide a central source for community. All of these changes will increase the aesthetic value of campus and improve the quality of student life.