Transy Steps Up its Sustainability Efforts

by Rachel Wolfe
Contributing Writer

Many changes have been made in regards to sustainability on Transylvania’s campus: recyclable containers are more accessible, tote bags with the phrase ‘Crimson Goes Green’ can be seen on the arms of students and faculty and general awareness about going green is more prevalent. The Sustainability Committee at Transy is responsible for these changes.

The Sustainability Committee began last year when President Shearer signed the American College and University President’s Climate Commitment, aimed towards climate neutrality on college campuses. Nearly 600 college and university presidents in the United States have signed the commitment already. The main goal of the President’s Climate Commitment is to cut down on global warming emissions and to promote sustainability in campus life.

The Transy Sustainability Committee is composed of students, faculty and staff. While last year’s group was one large committee, this year it has decentralized into three separate subcommittees to help achieve its goals more effectively: the Subcommittee on Educating Ourselves, the Subcommittee on Research and the Subcommittee on Waste Management.

The purpose of the Subcommittee on Educating Ourselves is to translate to the campus that Transy is going green. They relay information from organizations, such as TERRA and the Student Government Association, on ways the campus can work towards climate neutrality.

The main goal of the Subcommittee on Research is to research the different ways other universities and colleges have created their own climate neutrality plans.

The Subcommittee on Waste Management aims to develop a waste management campaign for the campus.

The Sustainability Committee has also set two goals for themselves as a whole. They want to make purchases that have the Energy Star Certification and to seek funding through grants for an adviser that would work part time for the university.

by Jessica HorohovAccording to Becky Goncharoff, a member of the Subcommittee on Education, there is more planned in the future to educate the campus about going green and to make the goals of the committee more visible. These plans include featuring different ways to go green on Inside Transy and making recycling containers more visible during Parents’ Weekend, Alumni Weekend, Commencement and even at basketball games.

The Sustainability Committee has already implemented several changes on campus to promote a better environment. The newly built Thomson Hall uses appliances that have an Energy Star Certification, and the cleaning chemicals used throughout campus have a green seal approval. All paperwork by the administration is now done on recycled paper, and there are even bicycles in the campus center for students to rent that will help cut down on carbon emissions from automobiles.

Dean of Students Michael Vetter, who chairs the Subcommittee on Education, believes that the campus is more aware regarding global warming and sustainability. He said that many students that are looking for a college that promotes climate neutrality.

“New students are coming in with an increased awareness and are paying more attention to the environment,” he said.

According to Dean Vetter, Transy has been recycling for about 25 years and has always been concerned with the environment, but the Sustainability Committee has created a broader definition of sustainability on campus and will bring more progress in the years to come.

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