May 042005
 
Authors: Stephanie Lindberg

In an effort to increase CSU's environmental sustainability, a new environmental committee has been created.

The committee will hold its first meeting Tuesday, May 10 and plans to meet at least once a week for the first two months to set up a strategic plan, said Justin Veit, a student intern in the Office of the President who helped set up the committee.

"It was set up to integrate the Talloires Declaration," said Veit, a senior accounting student. "It will be dealing with environment and sustainability issues that arise at CSU and in the Fort Collins community."

The Talloires Declaration (pronounced Tal-whar) was authored in 1990 in Talloires, France, by 31 university presidents and environmental experts from 15 countries as an official statement to show their commitment to environmental sustainability in higher education.

The document is an action plan for bringing sustainability and environmental aspects into teaching, research, operations and outreach at colleges and universities. More than 300 universities representing 40 countries have signed the document to date. Fort Lewis, University of Colorado and Colorado College all have committees to support the goals of the Talloires Declaration.

Former CSU President Albert Yates signed the declaration in 2002 and established a steering committee, chaired by Kathi Delehoy.

"We did projects like we established a list of courses that dealt with sustainability," said Delehoy, associate vice president for research. "We also worked with facilities to establish a Web site."

The committee also worked with the purchasing department to encourage them to make more green purchases. Delehoy is now a part of the new environmental committee.

"This particular work group, as I would call it, brings together people from different backgrounds," Delehoy said. "We'll try to integrate environmental sustainability into the strategic plan."

Courses include a non-source pollution class in the engineering department, said Robert Ward. As a member of the committee, Ward said he sees his role as "trying to organize the huge amount of activity already on campus."

Ward said CSU can play a major role in developing environmental sustainability because of the people here.

"This campus has a huge amount of expertise," said Ward, director of Colorado Water Resources Institute. "The opportunity this campus has to play a major role will help in the way Colorado plans and manages sustainability."

As a land grant institution, Delehoy said it is very important for CSU to be involved.

"It's certainly important to our students and it's also important to the faculty who do research and scholarship on this subject," Delehoy said. "Facilities has already made a commitment."

Veit said it is important to bring environmental aspects into the university.

"We want to integrate it with education and discovery," Veit said. " There are 180 other campuses that have the document but we haven't implemented it. Ever since (President) Penley got here he's been trying to implement it."

Veit, who is originally from Alaska, said environmental issues are very important to him, which is part of the reason he was charged with putting the committee together.

"Everybody needs to start looking at things in a more green way," Veit said.

CSU became the first university in the country to provide the opportunity for students to use wind power in the residence halls, which Veit said is a step in the right direction.

"We're making this campus more green," Veit said.

Ward said there are already examples on campus, such as water treatment centers by the on-campus greenhouses.

"That's something we can do more of," Ward said.

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