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BU celebrates Earth Day with adoption of environmental policy

By : Regina Rafanan

President Lois B. DeFleur signs Binghamton University’s recently adopted environmental policy during the annual Earth Day celebration last week in the Dickinson Amphitheater.
Approximately 800 members of Binghamton University’s campus community participated last week in the annual Earth Day celebration, recognizing the adoption of a new environmental policy which sets forth a broad range of environmental guidelines for the University.

“I was very happy with the number of students and faculty who attended,” said Juliet Berling, environmental resource manager for Physical Facilities, who added that the policy provides areas where the University can begin to improve its campus environment with the administration’s strong support.

Green’s not just the University color — it’s the way we try to live. Here are a few ways the University celebrates Earth Day daily:
  • Various departments use global electric motor cars (GEMS) for transportation on campus. GEMs run for 35 miles on a six- to eight- hour charge, and plug into standard 110-volt wall outlets for charging.
  • Dickinson Community students have been involved in a pilot recycling project.
    l Newer buildings, including the Academic Complex and University Union West, have energy savings features such as low-flow toilets and sinks and occupancy sensors. Some older buildings have been retrofitted with these devices.
  • During the last year, each building on campus has been metered, allowing for the monitoring and analyzing of building energy consumption to improve efficiency.
  • A project will begin this summer to provide more energy efficient lighting and occupancy sensors in various buildings.
  • Mountainview’s Windham and Cascade residence
    halls are “green” or LEED (Leadership in Energy
    and Environmental Design) certifiable buildings.
    Green design features include window
    material, insulation, mechanical equipment
    and roofing.
President Lois B. DeFleur signed the recently adopted environmental policy as part of Earth Day activities. The policy was developed and approved by the Committee on University Environment. It states that BU “should conduct its educational practices, research and business operations in ways that minimize negative impacts on the local and global environment.”

“The policy encourages environmental awareness and behavior that is a long time coming,” said Burrell Montz, geography professor and faculty supervisor for the Earth Day interns. She said the campus must continue its efforts to ensure that the University does everything it can to reduce energy and create a cleaner environment. Once that is done, “everybody wins,” Montz said.

Students shared enthusiasm and interest for the day’s many displays and activities. “It’s important to raise awareness of environmental issues because we waste so much everyday that we do not realize,” said Giya Abraham, a junior bioengineering student. “Earth Day is a fun way to learn about these issues and maybe spark some interest.”

The day also included a presentation by environmental speaker Mike Ewall, who provided lectures and workshops designed to educate and raise awareness regarding environmental issues. Information tables were also set up to display information on composting, contingency value surveys, the life cycle of a recyclable object and a New York Public Interest Research Group presentation on a proposed bottle bill expansion.

According to Karen Fennie of Physical Facilities, BU already has projects and activities underway that promote energy conservation. Efforts include a system that monitors and controls more than 5,000 pieces of mechanical equipment in buildings to reduce energy consumption, a recycling program for laser and ink jet cartridges and an upcoming summer project to provide more energy efficient lighting and occupancy sensors in various buildings.

Participants also received pencils made from recycled denim and cafeteria trays while sampling food from restaurants including Down to Earth, the Moosewood, the Whole in the Wall, the Food Co-op and Sodexho Campus Services.

Other events included an American Heritage Tree Planting ceremony, a make your own T-shirt from recycled paper sponsored by NYPIRG and Nature Preserve hikes. “The event was a good success” Berling said. “We are already planning for next year. I was very pleased with it.”

Earth Day was sponsored by Environmental Studies, NYPIRG, SEAC and the Office of Recycling and Resource Management.

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Last Updated: 10/14/08