STUDENTS WORK FOR A GREENER HAVERFORD
At a Fall 2001 Plenary, the students of Haverford College resolved to form the Committee for Environmental Responsibility. The committee’s task was to write a green plan, “A Vision for a Green Haverford,” which, according to the Haverford website, “delineates overarching principles of environmental stewardship.” During the interim, the committee worked to have the plan approved by President Tom Tritton and the senior administration. They are now focusing on its specific issues.
Members of the committee include students from each class, professors, and other Haverford employees. Students meet once a week as does the entire group. In addition, the students frequently collaborate with the Big Green Posse, an “umbrella organization of environmentally-minded people on campus,” according to CER member Stephanie Rudolph ’06. Both students and faculty/staff must undergo a rigorous selection process. Student applicants are selected by the Student Council Appointments Committee and current CER members; faculty and staff are appointed by the president. Tom Tritton has been supportive of CER’s agenda. He issued a presidential challenge to the student body: If they conserve energy and water, he will donate a portion of the money saved back to student council.
Committee members offered a variety of reasons for electing to join the group. Joe Townsend ’04 says, “Haverford College has the opportunity to be an environmental leader.” Another student, Ingrid Weiss ’07 remarks, “It’s really cool they give students a chance to be on committees like this.” John Francone, head of the Dining Center, one department that generates the most waste on campus wants to “work with the community to reduce waste.” Everyone echoed associate professor of English Jim Ransom’s sentiment: “If it wasn’t for the students, this would not be happening.” He gave credit to the Haverford undergraduates for their dedication.
One of CER’s major goals is to create an interdisciplinary environmental concentration in partnership with Bryn Mawr. It would be “broadly based throughout different divisions,” says Ransom. It would include English, political science, economics, anthropology, and the natural sciences. The committee wants the College to hire environmentally focused faculty. Progress on this initiative is being made, and the student affairs committee invited Christine Lamanna ’04 to discuss the curriculum issue at February’s Board weekend.
The committee is also heavily involved with the creation of Haverford’s new athletic center. Members helped get the construction proposal approved by Leadership in Environmental Engineering and Design, a firm that certifies high-performance, sustainable buildings. “Thanks to their efforts, the new athletic center from the ground up has had a clear policy to be as environmentally responsible as possible,” says Ransom.
Another plan is the creation of the “green fund,” an endowed fund for environmental issues on campus. Some of the proposed projects include motion sensors for lights in certain rooms, “turn me off” stickers for light switches, and “solar panels in strategic places,” according to Bruce Boyes, research machinist and instrument maker in the Instrumentation Shop. The group also intends to use the fund to offset the upfront capital needed for alternate heating and energy sources in new campus construction. “The creation of a uniform recycling system is another green fund project,” says Stephanie Rudolph, one of the students tackling that job. Along with Ingrid Weiss, she plans to install clearly labeled containers everywhere on campus. Allie Rosenberg ’05 is working with Physical Plant to start a program allowing students to recycle batteries, toners, ink cartridges, and computer parts, because they are toxic.
Kathleen DiJoseph, the physical plant liaison, says “This committee is making key strides.” The group is thrilled by the early positive response to its goals and looks forward to creating permanent improvements in Haverford’s attitude toward environmental responsibility.