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(Editor's note: The following story is from the spring 2011 edition of Bucknell Magazine.)
By Rhonda K. Miller
LEWISBURG, Pa. — While corn and potatoes were on the menu at the 2010 BU Goes Green Fall Fest, they also were components of the plates, utensils and cups used at the green barbecue — part of a campuswide effort to showcase sustainability.
"All food and dinnerware were either compostable or biodegradable," says Dorsey Spencer, assistant director of campus activities and programs. Even the Mother Earth-shaped balloons were biodegradable.
The Career Development Center's networking events also are going green, says Julee Bertsch, program director for alumni career services. "Eco" jobs will be targeted as opportunities in major cities across the country. "This is in the forefront of many people's minds when they are considering career choice and crosses many different career paths," she says.
Networking event The first networking event is planned for June in Chicago, and employers involved with environmentally friendly initiatives will be invited to attend along with a "green" speaker. Bertsch says the Career Development Center will host these events in LEED-certified (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) buildings, meaning the facilities must meet at least one greening standard, and the event will feature local food service as well as electronic presentations to maintain green standards. On campus, students are designing and building SEED (Sustainable Energy and Ecological Design) projects as part of the Environmental Center's Campus Greening Initiative.
"The green roof is a SEED project and focuses on sustainable construction," says Dina El-Mogazi, director of the Campus Greening Initiative.
Located on Dana Engineering, the roof is made of 150 2-by-2-foot recycled plastic trays that contain soil and sedum plants to absorb storm water and reduce runoff. It helps mitigate heating and cooling costs and energy consumption. El-Mogazi says new construction on campus will likely include buildings with green roofs, as the University has a number of green buildings in the design phase.
Native plants garden Additional SEED projects include a native plants garden, a sustainable cooperative and three solar arrays. Plans are also underway for students and faculty to participate in the installation of a small 10-kilowatt turbine on campus to demonstrate renewable energy technology. "We are trying to be sustainable but also educational at the same time. All of these projects are student-based," El-Mogazi says.
A Green Fund was recently established by the Campus Greening Council after a $10,000 challenge grant was donated anonymously. The revolving loan fund will finance projects that promote energy or water savings, and any projects receiving monies will pay back the fund within six years with the savings generated by the effort. Proposals are now being accepted.
Meanwhile, Bucknell's Student Government helped implement the use of Zipcars, a car-sharing initiative, where students, faculty and staff with a clean driving record and one year of driving experience can "borrow" the cars for a $35/year fee. The program saves on car rental and car ownership costs, and the cars themselves are environmentally friendly. The first 180 miles of daily driving are included in the cost. Dining services contributes to campus sustainability programs with trayless dining and the use of locally grown foods. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, nearly 4,000 meals are served sans tray, which reduces waste by an estimated 150 pounds per day and cuts water and electricity use.
Dining services Dining services purchases 25 percent of its produce from local farms and purveyors within 150 miles of campus.
The efforts span to CLIMBucknell, as well, with the installation of a composting toilet that breaks down waste with a forced ventilation system, converting it into natural usable humus. The facility also contains a waterless urinal. The outdoor privy has a sense of humor too. A sign reads, "Giving back to the environment begins here."
Says Jim Hostetler, director of construction and design, "Bucknell is situated in beautiful natural environs. It just makes sense to do our best to protect it."
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