Increasing Sustainability on Campus

Following the campus motto of Earth, Energy, and Environment, the Mines’ sustainability committee met to discuss the future actions of the organization’s involvement on campus.

Comprised of mainly administrative heads, graduate students and faculty, the sustainability committee looks to increase its involvement and presence on campus by applying for an American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) sustainability rating; such a rating determines Mines’ current position when it comes to sustainable practices.

“Probably this summer we will spend time updating the ASCE stars report so we can see where we’re at for next year. And what I want to do is to build a map to show where all the different activities are going on,” Katherine Robert, a graduate student who helps run the committee, commented. “For example, all our research, the classes we offer, student activities, everything that has been done so we can know where we stand.”

In the past, the committee has had a limited presence on the campus.

Robert explained, “Part of the problem is that no one really knows about the committee and they were only meeting once a semester. It has been really hard to start or finish anything. So they have had a really hard time getting anything moving.” By applying for the ASCE sustainability evaluation and providing information about the different sustainability efforts on campus, the committee moves towards increasing awareness and engagement on campus.

“We want to give students a way to participate,” she expressed. “Come sit at a table for a couple hours at an event, and talk to people, it’s all about communication. That’s really the way that these things start, people start talking to each other, and start networking.”

Robert explained that although sustainability starts at an individual level, teamwork and collaboration play a vital role in its development.

“Collaboration is a big component of sustainability. It’s that stakeholder component, it’s crucial,” she asserted. “It’s that transparency with people sharing information, people need to be aware of what is going on. Inclusion, everyone has a seat on the table, and at least has the chance to say what is important to them.”

By Earth Day next year (April 22, 2017), the sustainability committee hopes to increase involvement, awareness, and organizing of records of sustainable practices on campus. Look for the Tiny House competition team and other opportunities to get involved in sustainable practices and awareness on campus.

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