Sustainability is now being embraced by many schools to promote green thinking among students. Sustainable practices are also implemented in schools to attract eco conscious students who factor in the ecofriendliness of a school / college, before applying. So, campuses have become greener both to spread environmental awareness among students and also to attract eco savvy students. There are many ways in which schools are going green. Here are a few ways in which schools are incorporating ecofriendliness into their campuses:
Many schools and colleges are constructing or retrofitting existing buildings such as dorms by fitting solar panels and introducing water recycling systems. New buildings are also being constructed to meet LEED certification criteria.
Schools and colleges have started shuttle buses which are powered by oil leftover from cooking uses or biodiesel. They also reward students for car pooling to get around campus.
Monitoring water and energy bills
In order to reduce water and energy consumption, colleges monitor, review and analyze bills and energy data regularly so that they can identify and reduce wastage of energy and water.
Universities and colleges have started growing food on campus and composting food waste generated during cooking in campus. It’s an effort on the part of colleges to teach sustainable food to their students.
College cafeterias can also offer vegetarian dishes, so that the meat consumption goes down. Meat production creates huge amounts of methane, a greenhouse gas that leads to global warming. Getting students to appreciate the taste of vegetables can cut down on eating meat, which is a small effort, no doubt, but it’s the small things that can collectively help the environment.
Incentives / reward schemes for green practices
Some college cafeterias reimburse those students who bring their utensils along, and give discounts on products made from recycled paper. Whitman College has started imposing a carbon tax on the student body.
Celebrating green days, such as Earth day
Colleges and universities have started important ‘green’ days such as Earth Day. There are many fun green activities organized which students and professors can participate in, and learn about eco friendly concepts which can be applied to everyday living.
Schools and colleges have started rainwater harvesting which can be stored in rain barrels and used for non-potable uses. Thus potable water can be conserved and wastage can be avoided.
Training custodians about green cleaning
Colleges can teach custodians about green cleaning methods. They can be taught to choose green products for cleaning college buildings, dorms etc. The amount of chemicals ending up in waterways would also decrease in all college campuses adopting green methods.
Universities can apply for Green Fellowship programs
The Center for Green Schools sends sustainability directors to colleges for a period of three years, who implements green practices in schools and colleges.
Offering sustainable degrees and curricula
Environmental degrees like natural resource conservation, or sustainable agriculture can create a new band of educated people who can live sustainably, as well as teach others about sustainability and eco friendliness.
A few interesting green degrees offered by some colleges are:
New Hampshire University, Durham, teaches about green food production techniques, Nutrition, Well-Being, and Health. One semester is spent studying in the Gastronomic Sciences University, Italy.
MA in Environment and Fashion, College of Fashion, London
Would be fashion designers learn about eco friendly fabrics which are recycled, biodegradable, sustainable and animal free. Courses like this have been devised due to the demand and popularity of sustainable clothing.
BA and MA in Human ecology, Atlantic College, Bar Harbor
The students design their own curricula, focusing on conservation biology, sustainable business,
as well as writing and literature. This college fulfills its power needs solely from renewable hydropower sources and is the first college to be carbon neutral.
BFA in Interior design, Rocky Mountain Design and Art college, Denver
Students learn to design eco friendly interiors, sustainable homes and offices and retrofitting or redesigning interiors in an eco friendly manner.
Universities, colleges and schools play a great role in molding an individual. Ecofriendly practices in schools and colleges can help to create a new world population which cares about the environment and who will try to reduce their carbon footprint in all areas of life.