University sustainability efforts make progress, face obstacles
By: Kareem JohnsonPosted: 4/30/09Nationwide, campus sustainability initiatives have taken off, and Saint Louis University isjumping on the band wagon. Sustainability at SLU has improved since 2001, when the recyclingprogram launched. However, the University is still trying tackling ways to become moreenvironmentally friendly.Students in the Barnes and Noble Scholar Program launched recycling in November of 2001. Itbegan as a trial in just Marchetti Towers and Griesedieck residence halls. Recently, incooperation with Student Government Association President Sam Howard and UniversityPresident Lawrence Biondi, a core-vision sustainability team was created to further theenvironmental cause.Howard said that the administration is being "smart" about the short and long-term goals."Overall, I think recycling is the most tangible, logical first step for this University-wideCommittee to consider tackling," said Howard. "Recycling is something people see and a way toget the community truly involved in the effort."Howard explained that what seems like a lot "talking" is "important groundwork for an excitingfuture. This summer the President's Coordinating Council has agreed to have the Universityundergo an official energy assessment."Gregory Lehn, senior and biochemistry major with the Environmental Task Force, has a fewreservations of the situation as it stands now."I think that it's not transparent enough. I think that students can't see where their recycling isgoing," said Lehn. "[Students] don't understand the system, so there is a lot of room for rumors,or inefficiencies, where things may not [be] apparent."Lehn expressed concern that recycling and sustainability at SLU do not have dedicated peopleor a person in charge of those activities. The Environmental Task Force did, however, partnerwith the Department of Housing and Residence Life to create materials that provide studentswith information how to live green on campus and how to conserve energy and recycle oncampus.While core-vision program is in the planning stages, the University has received a D- insustainability for the past two years, as reported by TheGreenReportCard.org, operated by theSustainability Endowments Institute. The Institute is a "nonprofit organization engaged inresearch and education to advance sustainability in campus operations and endowmentpractices." The Green Report Card in contrast, issued Washington University in St. Louis a C+,and the University of Missouri-Columbia a C- in the same survey.