Happy Birthday, Earth

The Charger Bulletin

Earth day has come and passed. Although there was no gorgeous weather to remind us of our world’s beauty, many things came into light. The momentous day had no hype, no passion and of course little action on the proactive front. Some of you readers may have seen promotion for a campus ‘green team’ as well as sustainability committee; but I, like you, have seen or heard little activity. As we continue to grow as a university we must grow out of our barbaric ancestry to become a greater contributor to the sustainability movement.

Yale University has been headed in the right direction for the past few years implementing everything they can to become a rival to the Earth-integrated European universities. Dr. Julie Newman, Yale University’s sustainability director was kind enough to share Yale’s experience with UNH on April 22. Unfortunately, like many vital speeches given on campus, there was a small turn out.

Yale’s sustainability director puts no explicit definition to the term we’ve all been subjected to over the past years. Sustainability according to Dr. Newman is “a framework for decision making in which we balance economic viability, ecosystem health and human health.” Decision making; that’s it. Everyday activities are inundated in this balanced fundamental framework.

Kudos to the University of New Haven as we have almost completed our new multi-million dollar building which is LEED gold certified. This is one of the few and far steps we are beginning to take as we strive to make a difference in our impact on the Earth. There may be four or five recycle containers around campus, but do the students actually use them? 
From observation, we have seen kids blatantly disregard these efforts. Plastics are most commonly found in the trash when proper recycle receptacles are an arm’s reach away. Education needs to be a top priority on this campus, and this one of the first steps to be taken.

Speaking for the student body, if I may, I would like to see more effort put forth on the ‘green movement.’ It’s amazing what can be done if we could put our interests into action. Our university holds the funds to make change while we hold the power. The price tag put on such a invaluable cause cannot be judged as too much; only too little. Several ideas are being put into action as several of your clubs are collaborating to make a difference. 

Paper recycling should be on every floor of every residence hall. Paper cups from the café should be included in the ‘recyclable’ category. A no-idling law should be enforced on campus to reduce carbon emissions. I hear they have Styrofoam cups in the New Hall cafeteria…tsk tsk. Studentss must be aware how much of their resources they waste on a daily basis (i.e. energy, water, and food). Everything possible should be done to reduce the waste that the University of New Haven seemingly ignores. 

For those of you who are interested being consciously aware of what needs to be done about our world’s on-going situation, there are plenty of resources on the internet and of course at your local library. A suggested gateway into sustainability is Annie Leonard’s “Story of Stuff,” a 20-minute video that can be found at www.storyofstuff.com. The video will introduce you to the consumer patterns that contribute to America’s blatant disregard for the environment.

As you move out of your residence halls this May, don’t leave anything behind. Working and even non-working electronics, light fixtures, furniture, desk goods, bathroom necessities, and appliances should be brought to a local re-use/re-cycle center. The Marine Biology Club is working hard to bring such a hub to campus for the move-out season. Some less fortunate families and students would love to benefit. The clubs involved are doing what they can to make sure only thing going into the garbage is waste, not reusable goods. 

I leave you, the reader, with this…April 22 was a momentous day, but nothing was done on UNH’s part besides promoting plastic bottle sales. This day was your chance to do something big to show the campus you cared and are doing things to bring us one step further to a sustainable campus. We are far from it at this point, but reassurance of change would have been nice.

Knowledge is power.

With great concern,
Jeremy Esposito – a student like you.