Apr 112005
Authors: Clarke Reader

Green is an important color at CSU – besides being one of the school colors, green is quickly spreading through the campus, and CSU's award-winning sustainability efforts have played a large role in this change.

Recently the CSU Facilities Management Department was awarded the Fort Collins Area Chamber of Commerce 2004 Overall Environmental Business Award at the Chamber's 100th annual dinner.

"We pulled together a lot of projects like wind power and recycling," said Carol Dollard, utility engineer at CSU. "The win was a sort of comprehensive thing from projects like energy to recycling."

Entering CSU for the award required a lot of paper work.

"There were pages and pages of questions, like what kind of conservation and recycling programs do you have," said John Morris, an employee of Facilities Management. "When we turned it in, it was an inch thick."

CSU began working on sustainability, which is maintaining a clean and healthy environment, when President Albert Yates signed the Talloires Declaration in 2001.

"University professors got together in Talloires, France, and wanted to make sustainability part of students' education," Dollard said. "It's a global thing to cement sustainability on campuses."

The declaration has 10 actions that are agreed upon, including "establishing programs to produce expertise in environmental management," and "working with national and international organizations to promote a worldwide university effort toward a sustainable future."

Morris supports the declaration.

"It's the direction we need to go as a society, or we're going to stifle ourselves," Morris said. "We need to start teaching students how to change the way they look at building design and the environment and see the environment is not an unlimited resource."

CSU is currently working on many conservation programs to increase sustainability.

"We've implanted $2 million into energy and water conservation projects. We expect 500,000 back at the end of the year, from energy and water savings, so in four years, we'll make back the money we invested," Dollard said.

Students on campus have been pitching in to help with different conservation programs.

Adam Kremers, a sophomore environmental engineer and member of Associated Students of CSU, worked with Dollard on the wind energy project.

"I've been going around trying to spread the word to other universities and we're working on making it easier for students to learn about it next year," Kremers said. "Renewable energy is becoming more inexpensive. For the cost of an X-Box game or going out for the weekend, you could buy wind power for an entire year."

One of the focuses of sustainability is to improve the quality of life for years to come.

"We can't just think about the next generation, but the next seven," Morris said. "It's too short-sighted."

All students are encouraged to be more aware of sustainability in their lives.

"Students should take ownership of energy and water use," Dollard said. "And, think what they might do to save energy on campus."

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