Sustainability Committee works to make university more eco-friendly

By: Lydia Rogers

As part of the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment (ACUPCC), Xavier University created the Sustainability Committee, in which a cross-section of the campus community has dedicated itself to achieving climate neutrality. Since March 2008, the committee has been implementing the Campus Sustainability Plan, which has been submitted to the ACUPCC. In recent years, the committee has made great strides toward reaching their sustainability goals.

There have been a number of environmentally beneficial projects taking place around campus due to the innovations of the Sustainability Committee.

A team of sustainability interns, committee members and off-campus contributors developed composting devices called “Earth Tubs.”

“Any student event or office can bring food scraps to the Earth Tubs; they will be made into compost,” Sustainability Coordinator Ann Dougherty said.

The new Xavier University Rec Center Butterfly Urban Farm is also intended to aid in the campus’ environmental needs. Furthermore, Xavier is now offering three new Sustainability majors in continuation of the Environmental Studies Program.

Construction of the Hoff Academic Quad, which includes the Conaton Learning Commons (CLC), Smith Hall, Bishop Edward Fenwick Place and the Central Utility Plant, was completed on Aug. 13. These buildings have been designed to meet Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) silver standards. Since their completion, Xavier has reduced its energy consumption by 17.5 percent and its water consumption by 20 percent.

Aside from these physical achievements, the Sustainability Committee will be hosting a number of awareness events this fall. A number of films that demonstrate the effects of a changing climate

on people and the planet will be shown in the CLC. Students and faculty will also have a chance to get involved with the sustainability movement on Sept. 25 by participating in a taped interactive exercise meant to represent campus greenhouse emissions.

The theme for this year’s Sustainability Day will be “Energy Justice.” There will be a panel on Oct. 28 featuring prominent figures in the Environmental Science and Sustainability fields such as Joan Fitzgerald, director of law and public policy at Northeastern University, and Garry Harris, executive director of Atlanta’s Center for Sustainable Solutions.

“In effort to save what little is left, we need to commence learning about this new world and how we can till it and build it,” Sustainability Intern and Environmental Science major Edith Delgado said.

The Sustainability Committee plans on continuing its efforts to reach the Campus Sustainability Plan’s goals of becoming a climate neutral environment.

“We have a lot to do as individuals and also as organizations made up of people who care,” Dougherty said.