College Campuses are generally at the forefront of new technology and new ideas and they certainly should be leading examples of what it looks like to go green. Here are my top 5 things that can be done on college campuses in order to make a positive environmental impact.
1. Bike Share Program.
Right now our campus is tying up loose ends on our student bike share program. After taking a safety class, students will be able to rent bikes to use on or off campus for 24 hours. This program is going to be a great way to show students the benefits of shared programs while also encouraging a greener mode of transportation. We are hoping that the city will take notice of our bike share program and consider implementing one of their own as well.
2. Butterfly Garden.
We just finished planting a garden full of native plants that will attract butterflies and bees. We know that planting native plants that encourage butterfly and bee populations is of the upmost importance. Again we hope that this will serve as a model for others and hopefully get people thinking about how they can plant a native garden in their own yard. These kinds of gardens are beneficial for us as well as for the animals and insects that will make their homes there.
3. Real Food Challenge.
Students on our campus are currently working towards getting the Real Food Challenge implemented. The RFC is a commitment that Universities sign in order to show that they support Real Food. Upon signing the commitment they assert that by 2020 they will purchase at least 20% of the food on campus from Real sources. In order for a food to qualify as Real it must fall into at least 1 of 4 categories: Local, Sustainable, Fair Trade and/or Organic. There is an auditing process of sorts that the dining services on each campus will go through in order to validate how much food bought meets this criteria. This is a way for Universities to use some of their collective 5 BILLION dollars in spending power towards local, sustainable, fair trade and/or organic sources.
4. President’s Climate Commitment.
Our University signed the PCC last year. Signatories of the PCC agree to do the following:
*Complete an emissions inventory.
*Within two years, set a target date and interim milestones for becoming climate neutral.
*Take immediate steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by choosing from a list of short-term actions.
*Integrate sustainability into the curriculum and make it part of the educational experience.
*Make the action plan, inventory and progress reports publicly available.
5. Make upgrades to existing infrastructure.
Many colleges were built before the environmental revolution that we are currently witnessing. That means that many buildings on campus are not energy efficient. Adding solar panels, replacing old light fixtures with LEDs and replacing sinks and toilets with water efficient models can greatly reduce the environmental impact of an institution. USF in Tampa even installed a system that has its new fountains running entirely on water collected from the condensation that collects from the AC units for the library!
If you are a college student what are you doing to help your school be more green? Share you own ideas bellow!