COMMITTEE FOR THE UNIVERSITY ENVIRONMENT
ANNUAL REPORT 1999-2000
The Committee held about 8 meetings this year. Active members included 6 faculty members (Anne Clark, Jeanne Eichelberger, Colleen Hailey, Ralph Miller, Julian Shepherd [Chair], Tim Singler), one undergraduate member (Jordan Wolf), and 2 staff members (Allan Eller and Pearse Murray), both ex officio.
Major issues this year included (1) planning for additional student housing on campus, (2) a proposal for a University Environmental Policy, (3) pesticide use on campus, (4) research projects in the Natural Areas, (5) maintenance of the Nature Preserve.
1. Additional Housing. After doing considerable preliminary planning in the summer of 1999, Physical Facilities informed CUE in October that they had settled on 2 alternative plans for a new addition to Newing, but favored a site in the woods south of Newing and east of the Health Services. Over the course of the next several months, this plan aroused sufficient opposition from CUE, faculty members, students, and University neighbors that Vice President Michael Scullard asked CUE in February to make a recommendation of whether to build at that site or not, a recommendation that he promised to follow. CUE met shortly thereafter with Scullard and then voted against building at the site in the woods. The University then announced it was reconsidering the Newing plans, later dropping them and turning their attention to proposals for renovation or reconstruction of Dickinson Community. Apparently this brought the realization that a Dickinson renovation would not satisfy all needs, as the Administration convened a meeting of Physical Plant, Residential Life, University Relations, and Dormitory Authority personnel to consult with various Campus groups, including CUE, about locations and specifications for a new dormitory complex to house 800 students. They met with CUE on April 14th, one of their suggestions being a location between Hinman and CIW. CUE made several recommendations: that this area was acceptable, that construction be kept below the level of the crest of the hill at the back, and all efforts be made to accommodate increased parking in a most parsimonious manner.
2. A University Environmental Policy. Several years ago, a University Environmental Policy had been proposed to the Administration, but no response was received. In Spring 1999, CUE and the student environmental group, SEAC, drew up a revised proposal and secured the backing of the SA, the GSO, the PEC, and the FS Executive Committee by Fall 1999. Informal presentation of this proposal to the Administration resulted in a request to defer consideration of the Policy until the University could hire a person part of whose duties would be to act as an environmental ombudsperson. CUE still awaits news of this hire.
3. Pesticide Use on Campus. CUE received and reviewed the annual proposal for pesticide use from the Physical Plant on May 2nd, 4 months after it had been first written and after some of the program had been carried out. CUE suggested several amendments for next year and requested more prompt notification.
4. Research Projects in the Natural Areas and the Nature Preserve. CUE approved 3 studies by faculty members and MA/PhD students on (1) water movements, (2) nature of sediments, and (3) aphid (insect) distribution in the Natural Areas and Nature Preserve, all of which had no significant impact on the Preserve.
5. Maintenance of the Nature Preserve. CUE approved activities by the Friends of the Nature Preserve which included (1) trail construction and maintenance of field and shrub habitats in the newly purchased area of the Preserve, and (2) control (by cutting and uprooting) of two invading exotic species, purple loosestrife and giant reed, in the Preserve wetlands.