Last semester an op/ed ran questioning whether Colorado State University was truly a â€œgreenâ€ university. Itâ€™s important for our campus community to know that not only is CSU a green campus, but through research and engagement efforts, weâ€™re not just greening our campus, but also the world.
At CSU, faculty, staff and students are making our campus and the world around us more sustainable every day. Students in particular are major contributors to the conservation measures on campus. Surveys done by Facilities Management Department staff show more students than any other campus population use alternative transportation to get to class.
Students lead RecycleMania, a major national recycling competition in which CSU typically places among the top 20 among hundreds of universities. This year, RecycleMania kicks off on Feb. 6 and will be an eight-week opportunity for students to collect the highest amount of recyclables per capita, the highest amount of total recyclables and produce the least amount of trash per capita.
Green Warrior, another CSU student challenge, promotes living sustainably everyday and rewards students for each action they take that benefits the environment. This yearâ€™s Green Warrior competition coincides with RecycleMania and starts this week. CSU recognizes that small, individual actions make a big impact on our community. The university is committed to promoting these educational programs that make CSU the green campus it is.
There are several campus organizations committed to sustainability that students are encouraged to get involved with, where their efforts can make even more of a difference. Students are also given the opportunity to work in positions on campus that promote engagement in the many sustainability programs the university offers.
CSUâ€™s green reach goes far beyond campus; the university is a steward to the global environment. More than 150 faculty members research some aspect of sustainability and clean, renewable energy alternatives. CSU is recognized as a leader in this area of research because of people like engineering professor Bryan Willson, who helped create a clean-burning cookstove the environmental community has lauded and is now sold in India.
Diana Wall, a Biology Department ecosystem scientist and director of CSUâ€™s School of Global Environmental Sustainability, SoGES, has completed 21 research seasons in the Antarctic Dry Valleys examining how soil food webs and ecosystem processes respond to global change.
Other green projects at CSU include:
A 5.3-megawatt solar plant â€“â€“ the largest at a U.S. university and large enough to provide one-third of the power of the Foothills Campus.
A biomass boiler that produces energy from trees destroyed by beetles.
Graywater systems pulling shower and hand-wash sink water from Aspen Hall for research with the civil engineering department on in-building water reuse.
The dining centers have collected 3,600 gallons of used cooking oil for reuse to produce biodiesel and other products, composted 300,000 pounds of pre- and post-consumer food scraps and reduced plate waste by 50 percent through the elimination of trays in the dining centers.
CSU was chosen by the United Nations for its 2010 North American launch of the Decade for Deserts and the Fight Against Desertification because of our environmental and agricultural research.
These are just a few examples of the many environmental, sustainability and clean energy educational, research and outreach efforts at CSU. You can learn more by going online to www.green.colostate.edu.
The campus community at CSU should be applauded for its holistic approach to sustainability. From eating with corn-based compostable utensils, to riding our bikes to class, to learning from people who are already changing the world, the community at CSU is making a difference.
If you want to get involved and help make our campus greener, take part in the Green Warrior energy campaign and/or RecycleMania this semester.
Holly Batchelder is a public relations major and sustainability intern for Housing and Dining Services.