May 23, 2024
few clouds Clouds 77 °F

15 Ways Binghamton is Creating a Greener Environment

Green is more than just our school color here at Binghamton University. With Earth Day just around the corner, I wanted to find out exactly how Binghamton was awarded a gold status in sustainability. After researching the different environmental initiatives and changes underway, I’m pretty confident Bing is well on its way to earning the highest tier of platinum.

Students can get a degree in Sustainable Communities

students standing near water

Sustainable Communities is a master’s degree program where students can learn about environmental protection, economic vitality and social equity! Careers in government sustainability, conservation organizations, green transportation, urban planning, non-profit management and many more are attainable for those who pursue this degree.

We’re phasing out single-use plastics

array of plastic bottles

New Binghamton, new you! All SUNY schools are required to phase out all single-use plastics, including items like plastic bags, bottles and food containers. By 2027, plastic bottles will be a thing of the past. According to the Sustainable Campus Index, Binghamton’s sustainability efforts have reached gold status, so it’s surely just a matter of time before we reach the coveted platinum status.

The new Sustainability Office is directing a cleaner campus

sunset of physical facilities

The University is making big strides with the creation of the Office of Sustainability, which directs sustainability programs, projects and initiatives to better the campus community. Two new roles were created, with Pamela Mischen appointed as their new chief sustainability officer, and Martin Larocca as program coordinator.

Clubs are spreading awareness

girl holding bees

Fortunately for Bing students, there are many ways to contribute to the campus green through student organizations. From saving the bees with Binghamton University Bees, to celebrating veganism with Plant Based Binghamton, to striving to reduce carbon emissions through the Greenhouse Gas Reductions Org, students can feel empowered to make a real difference here at Binghamton.

Students are getting ready with the 1MReady Campaign

harvey holding 1M sign

Binghamton University has partnered with the international organization 1 Million Women (1MWomen), which seeks to lower carbon emissions by empowering individuals in their daily, personal lives. The University has adopted the carbon challenge, where participants are asked to consider making 40 changes in their lives, in aspects such as food, fashion and travel. The goal is for 2,000 University students to take up the challenge.

Everyone is eliminating Binghamton waste

collection of recycling bottles

Without counting scrap metal or waste oil, Bing’s recycling efforts from 2014 to 2022 have resulted in a quarter of a million dollars saved. For the 2022-23 year, the University has diverted 573.166 tons of waste – that includes 115.72 tons of scrap metal, 213.55 tons of cardboard and 65.968 tons of paper! This is an incredible jump from 130-170 tons of waste from the 2019-2021 period. And even with more buildings around campus, there is still an overall trend of decreased water usage due to the University’s active efforts towards water conservation. Check out the University Energy Dashboard for an inside look at energy usage around campus!

We’re banning Bing balloons

balloons of pastel colors

As of summer 2023, helium balloons, balloon releases and balloon celebrations are now prohibited on campus. However, balloons for research purposes are allowed, as well as recovered hot air balloons.

We’re fighting climate change with 2 Degrees

people sitting at table outside talking

As part of the 2 Degrees Initiative, Binghamton looks at what it would be like to live in Binghamton under 2 degrees of warming. To address climate change, 2 Degrees hosts climate change summits and festival gatherings, where topics ranging from flooding to art are discussed in a future of increasing temperatures.

Students are driving into cleaner energy

blue bus nature pic

The University helps to lower greenhouse gas emissions through Off Campus College Transport (OCCT). Look out for those blue buses, and they’ll take you just about anywhere you need to be in Binghamton. Not only that, but propane buses have been added to the mix to replace diesel, which produces less carbon deposits. Carpooling is also an environmentally friendly option! Binghamton University is partnered with 511NY Rideshare, a free carpooling match database.

Students are donating during move-out

donating during move out

To benefit the local community, Bing students amassed 5.626 tons of donations from campus during May Move Out. Including the efforts made by the Sierra Club’s Move Out Project, this increases the grand total donations to 8.75 tons!

We’re decreasing erosion in Nuthatch Hollow

two trees bordering nuthatch water

Nuthatch Hollow is a 75-acre bird sanctuary founded on Bunn Hill Road, hidden away from all the noise and bustle of urban life. The University’s Center for Integrated Watershed Studies has been working alongside the Upper Susquehanna Coalition (USC) on decreasing erosion by slowing down its water by producing catch dams and wetlands. We’re also working on a habitat for the salamanders and frogs!

Facilities Management is creating a Clean Energy Master Plan

people looking at solar panels

Binghamton is already underway transforming the way energy is distributed on campus. The University’s Facilities Management Department is working towards the goal of using electricity instead of natural gasses for heat through a ground source heat pump method. Instead of generating new heat, it moves heat by conserving heat energy from the summer and storing that heat in the ground, where it will be used during the winter. Other goals for the plan include having 100% of electricity supplied by carbon-free sources by 2030, and all University light-duty vehicles converted to electric vehicles by 2035.

Binghamton University Acres is accepting volunteers

student volunteering

A small, off-campus farm on Bunn Hill Road, known for its composting and gardening, has established a new propagation house! Students are encouraged to attend weekly workdays to work on garden bed preparation, site preparation, transplanting vegetables into the garden and raising the propagation house! The farm also has its own academic internship program for students interested in learning more.

We’re hosting campus-wide events

spine pic of tree

The University hosts a number of events geared toward sustainability and the environment each year—from the Annual Earth Day Festival with free food and prizes to the Sustainability Scavenger Hunt to the Race to Zero Waste, where students compete in waste reduction activities.

We’re cultivating thousands of plants in the Greenhouse

blue skies over the greenhouse

Anyone can stop by the E.W. Heier Teaching and Research Greenhouses, which holds space for over 4,000 exotic plants, representing over 1,000 different plant species. Within, you’ll find yourself immersed in four simulated environments, including tropical, warm temperature, cool temperature and desert. The greenhouse hours are 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Students can also work at the greenhouse, with an onboarding experience that includes learning how to water and care for the plants.

Lauren Woodring is an intern for the Office of Media and Public Relations, and a senior double majoring in English and psychology. She’s looking forward to starting her career after graduation, and she can be found playing board games with friends, earning her cat’s love with treats and writing poetry in her spare time.

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