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Haverford College

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The environment has been on the mind of every Haverford student this year.

Resolutions proposed at both the fall and spring Plenary caused us to reflect on how the environment relates to our lives at Haverford and the Honor Code. One resolution resulted in the replacement of Styrofoam products in the dining center with biodegradable alternatives, an initiative that garnered the support of students, faculty, and staff. The second invited Haverford students to think about environmental consciousness as part of the Honor Code.

This spring, the Committee for Environmental Responsibility’s "Community Empowerment through the Environment" Conference will be received by a receptive audience after this year’s environmental discourse on campus. The diverse list of groups that are contributing to the conference demonstrates that environmentalism is no longer an issue delegated to groups on campus charged with that specific task. Rather, groups ranging from the Office of Multicultural Affairs to Students’ Council to the Howard Hughes Medical Institute have been involved in the planning of the event.

Students on the Committee for Environmental Responsibility have been working hard to plan a weekend designed to celebrate what Haverford and other communities, both in the Philadelphia area and beyond, are doing to protect the environment. We hope that by highlighting our interconnectedness with other communities we can empower ourselves through these connections. We believe that our Quaker heritage calls us to discuss issues of social justice, which certainly encompasses environmental issues. The speakers at the conference will lead us in discussions about the ways in which the environment affects us (and we affect it) on both a personal and academic level.

An exciting speaker at the conference will be Steve Curwood, member of the Haverford College Board of Managers and host of NPR’s "Living on Earth." Other speakers include Lois Gibbs, honorary degree recipient at Haverford and executive director of the Center for Health, Environment, and Justice, and Al Niremberg, Haverford alum and founder of Evergreen Consulting and Training of Massachusetts. Local speakers include Jane Golden of the Mural Arts Program in Philadelphia, another honorary degree recipient.

In the two weeks leading up to the conference, Earthquakers, a student-led environmental group on campus, has planned an event to increase environmental awareness and get students excited about the conference. The Tommy T challenge, named after our president, is entitled “Do It in the Dirt” and will focus on composting and our responsibility to take care of what enters the waste stream. Compost bins have already been installed in the dining center and the apartments, and students will be challenged to reduce the amount of waste they produce by composting some of their food. The compost produced by not only students, but also faculty and staff, will be used by the arboretum. We hope that students will see that they as individuals have a personal responsibility to the environment.

As an entirely student designed-and-executed initiative, we are thrilled to host "Community Empowerment through the Environment" at Haverford College on April 20 and 21, 2007. We are eager to see as many alumni as possible turn out for this exciting event. For more information and to register, e-mail We look forward to seeing y

The ramp from Magill Library with Ryan Gym and Sharpless Hall in the background.

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