Growing trends towards green campuses
More colleges and universities are choosing to participate in efforts to make their campuses more environmentally safe, more energy efficient, and of course more green. For many campuses, the inspiration to go green grows from the desire to set an example for their communities; other colleges and universities seek savings in funds and resources. Still other schools are attempting to tie their academic programs to how they run their campuses, as a way to practice what they preach. Whatever the reasons, colleges and universities all over the country are going green, and it’s more than just a trend.
Impact on the bottom line
Green initiatives do more than reduce a campus’s carbon footprint; they can also save money. Several colleges and universities are seeing the benefits of conducting online school programs and distance learning, as well as other initiatives. From building energy-efficient dorms to using geothermal energy, colleges are realizing that going green can free up funds for other uses.
Community building activities
Going green can encourage college campuses to get more involved in their communities. Projects like community gardens go a long way toward civic engagement for students and the administrations of colleges and universities: in Buffalo, Niagara University’s employees used their day of service to work on a community garden for nearby residents. And the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is using the opportunity to encourage some friendly competition among sports conferences with the College and University Green Power Challenge. The EPA tracks green power purchases throughout the academic year and will recognize conferences with the highest green power purchases in the country. Activities like these help foster goodwill between schools and their communities and encourage partnerships and civic engagement.
Investing in the future of the environment
The most important reason colleges are choosing to go green is because they’re committed to helping save the environment. The American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment is one of the country’s largest coordinated efforts by colleges and universities to address the issue of climate change. At the heart of this organization is the belief that climate neutrality is “the defining challenge of the 21st century,” and that as institutions of education, they have a responsibility to teach future leaders about climate change. Higher education organizations both large and small are recognizing the need to invest time and effort into green initiatives, and their efforts are making real impact on how resources are used and conserved.
While there is still debate on the scientific veracity of climate change, the fact remains that both individuals and organizations can take steps every day to reduce the amount of waste they produce, to reduce the amount of energy they consume and to contribute to the effort to make our planet cleaner and safer for future generations. College and universities in this country are leading the charge to educate their students and their surrounding communities about going green. As schools go green, their students and employees will learn how to incorporate green ideas into their everyday lives. The trend of going green is becoming a way of life on college campuses and beyond.