Emily Chassman ’16
Since 2007 the Sustainability Task Force (STF) has been discussing and developing plans in the effort to make Trinity a “greener” community. Years of efforts and attempts on the behave of the Task Force has culminated in the recent release of the 2013 Sustainability Strategic Plan (SP13), an outline of all sustainability projects set to be implemented at Trinity before the end of the 2013 calendar year. The committee’s goal, through the release of this plan, is to create meaningful short-term sustainability projects designed to be integrated into the initiatives, support, and work already taking place on campus. Along with these short-term goals, larger and long-term sustainability solutions for the campus will be discussed and pursued in the years to come.
The SP13 is divided into nine categories: green building, education, community engagement, dining services, Climate Action Plan support, transportation, water, and recycling and solid waste. Within each of these categories, there are specific goals, such as increasing the number of alternative-fuel vehicles used by the college, and wide-reaching goals such as publicity and advocacy of the Climate Action Plan.
The different areas these initiatives will take place are expansive; they aim to target every area of life on campus from “empower[ing] the campus community…by advertising existing efforts, educating about and incentivizing sustainable behaviors in classrooms, dorm rooms, and offices,” to exploring “opportunities to reduce water consumption” on campus, to even publicizing and expanding current research and courses in sustainability in the course curriculum. The committee’s report details an extensive list of these initiatives, many of which are already underway.
Some of these projects are: posting signs at sites around campus where energy efficiency and lighting upgrades are taking place as part of the Climate Action Plan; implementing a green purchasing policy through W.B. Mason, the primary office supplier at Trinity, including a 30 percent recycled paper content minimum on paper purchases; participating in Recyclemania, the national recycling competition that ended March 30. Trinity’s recycling rate during Recyclemania was 13%, better than previous years, but there is much room for improvement. A special effort to collect faculty and staff books also brought in over 1,000 pounds of books for donation. The SP13 also plans on developing a record of water consumption over the past 18 months at Metropolitan District Commission water sources on campus, and setting up an inkjet and toner cartridge recycling program with Hartford Toner, with drop-off locations in Mather Hall’s recycling center and Faces Lounge and the lobby of LSC.
The STF is working with other campus organizations, such as Facilities (run by Aramark), ConnPIRG, Chartwells, Green Campus (a student group), Peter B’s Café, and Envrionmental Health & Safety, a branch of Aramark.
For projects not yet enacted, either fully or partially, the sustainability report lays out strategies, easily integrated into the Trinity community, as well as individuals day to day lives. By producing a report of this nature, the committee is able to effectively target their audience and offer real solutions. The wide-ranging nature of the report shows the urgency of these environmental concerns, both worldwide and within our own community. The outline of both long- and short-term goals allows for realistic measures to be taken in both an appropriate yet efficient amount of time.
Another initiative currently taking place is called Bantam Blitz. Using an interactive website, students can track their dorm’s electricity consumption in real time. The competition is between 16 dorm buildings to reduce their energy consumption the most between April 21 and 27. Students in participating dorms are encouraged to limit energy consumption, power down electronics, unplug cords when not in use, and take other simple steps to reduce electricity use. For each hour that electricity consumption goes down, the dorm will receive points.
Using a recorded baseline from the month of March, the website will record how much each dorm reduces their use during the week of competition, and participating students can track their dorm as well as other buildings they are competing against. Students can even vote for what the winning prize will be using an online survey. For more information, see www.trincoll.edu/bantamblitz. The “Power Down” initiative includes other activities such as free t-shirts in Mather on April 18, 19, and 22 in order to raise awareness about this energy reduction cause and more.
Students are encouraged to take part in these current initiatives, one of the largest being to educate students and faculty alike about environmental concerns both in the world and specifically on Trinity’s campus. The STF continues to investigate “all aspects of campus activity, including energy consumption, procurement, transportation, construction and renovations, recycling and waste, grounds management, and dining” in order to make recommendations as to ways the Trinity community as a whole can become more sustainable. For more information about the Task Force or the recently released Sustainability Strategic Plan for 2013 please visit http://www.trincoll.edu/AboutTrinity/offices/sustainability/Pages/Sustainability.aspx.