It appears that college greens are going green. A new trend of environmentally-friendly college campuses is sweeping the nation. Instigated by students, the movement calls for colleges and universities to practice the principles their students learn and advocate. The push reflects the growing sustainability movement and a world-wide call for action to combat climate change. But, most of all, college greening is a manifestation of student demands for attention towards environmental issues such as water conservation, waste reduction, organic foods and clean energy.
As large institutions with considerable buying power, college campuses have begun the greening process by altering purchasing habits. After all, college campuses consume a wide range of goods and services as well as a great deal of energy. Some schools have focused their efforts on the purchase of alternative energies such as wind power. Harvard University, for example, is the ninth-largest university purchaser of green power in the country, according to the EPA. Other colleges, like Middlebury College in Vermont, have plans to adopt alternative technologies such as the use of bio-mass as an energy source. Students and college facilities’ staff have engineered a method to promote energy conservation through dorm wars or dorm energy competitions with bragging rights for the dormitory that saves the most energy. Another initiative on college campuses is composting in the dining halls. By taking an environmentally-conscious approach to their operations, institutions of higher education can serve as examples of sustainable living for private and public entities on all scales.
Although the college greening movement is moving in the sustainable direction, some may argue that it’s just getting started. And yet, additional initiatives by students indicate that the trend is built to last. As well as energy conservation and composting, college students are encouraging their institutions to support environmental studies departments and integrate environmental education into the general curriculum. New leaders and followers of the environmental movement will be born out of these changes. A sustainable future is on the way, coming soon to a college campus near you!