Green is the new orange: Princeton conserves
By Julia Osellame
Princetonian Arts Writer
Students, faculty and staff who live, work and play on this 500-acre campus are not only enjoying its beauty by jogging next to Lake Carnegie or walking through Prospect Garden — they are also tackling global environmental issues and studying the University’s ecological impact.
The sheer number of campus environmental organizations and academic departments dedicated to environmental studies makes it difficult to get a comprehensive picture of the University’s dedication to nature. This year, however, with the creation of a campus environmental network encouraging communication, students are increasingly being included in discussions about campus sustainability and environmental impacts.
Shana Weber was appointed to the newly created position of sustainability manager in the summer of 2006. Along with her appointment came the revitalization of the Princeton Sustainability Committee, formed in 2002 as the Princeton Environmental Oversight Committee. The committee, which meets once a month and is made up of students, faculty and staff, discusses sustainability issues and proposes recommendations to the University administration.
Within the group are subcommittees responsible for tackling specific areas of sustainability on campus: energy and carbon dioxide emissions, campus food and dining, purchasing, grounds and landscaping, solid waste and building services, transportation, construction and education. The goal is to create the first benchmark sustainability report for the University.
Overseeing the many environmental initiatives on campus, Weber has unified campus student groups dedicated to environmental stewardship by creating the Princeton Environmental Network (PEN) and Student Environmental Communication Network (SECN). At PEN meetings, representatives from the student groups can voice their environmental concerns and discuss plans for future events. The group has produced two five-minute clips that aired nationally on public radio.
While Greening Princeton works with the administration on changing environmental policy issues, Students United for a Responsible Global Environment (SURGE) focuses on influencing students to create a progressive climate change policy that will have a global impact. A more locally focused group, Princeton Water Watch works to inform the campus and community about New Jersey’s poor water quality through coordinating stream monitoring, cleanups and community events as well as teaching interactive lessons at regional elementary schools. The author of this article is also the president of Princeton Water Watch.
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