The level of Environmental Awareness on college campuses directly affects the development of students sustainability goals and value of future action addressing climate change. Sarah-Dawn Haynes, program assistant at the environmental center at CU Boulder stated, “Students are really redefining their values. They could be extremely different from their home towns.”
CU’s environmental center has 11 professional staff to organize events, guest speakers, and initiatives that increase the presence of environmental awareness on campus. The environmental center unites the campus, to keep track of different sustainability initiative, and act as a central authority to raise awareness across campus.
“It’s about building a reputation for people to live up to. I would look for inspiration towards you peers in the world,” said Haynes.
Mines’ campus sustainability committee meets once a semester to serve and promote the school’s sustainability initiatives. However, it may not be enough to accomplish large tasks asked of universities.
Haynes commented on the collaboration required to for an ASCE rating for the CU campus, “[It took a] Year to actual get everything together, it’s many departments, not just the environmental center. It took us a year and a half to actually get all the information, all the stakeholders, and everything that people wanted to say. This was full time for several staff for a year and a half.”
Improving environmental awareness in any community takes time, “That’s the hardest thing for students. Results take a long time to build. But it really helps to have a committee” said Haynes.
Unlike CU, Mines does not have the capacity to hire a dozen full time professionals to lead a campus center. There is a lack of centralized effort, communication, and presence on Mines campus regarding sustainability efforts.
Mines Mission statement is as follows, “Education and research in engineering and science to solve the world’s challenges related to the earth, energy and the environment”. Upon graduation students have the technical skills to address future challenges. However, the development of environmental awareness and understanding social perspective may be compromised.