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University hopes for a better report card next year

December 10th, 2009

The administration of John Carroll University is taking steps to become more environmentally-friendly. Earlier this semester, the University received an “F” grade in sustainability from greenreportcard.com.

The administration is currently moving forward with three separate initiatives.

The first of these is implementing a sustainability committee on campus.

According to Jonathan Smith, vice president and executive assistant to the president, “It [the sustainability committee] will communicate with the campus the activities that are taking place.”

Additionally, the committee will be charged with setting priorities for energy projects and conservation and will provide a forum for discussion about how to best improve JCU’s sustainability efforts.

Senior Brad Bartelme, vice president of the environmental issues group on campus, feels that the University has to do more to make the University greener.

“Our sustainability report card gave the administration an ‘F,’ and rightly so. They have made no effort to get the student body involved and everything is done behind closed doors,” said Barelme.

The administration hopes to change this feeling with the sustainability committee.

The committee will be comprised of interested students, as well as faculty and administration.

Smith said that the Rev. Robert Niehoff, president of JCU, will announce the formation of the committee soon. At that time Niehoff will also announce who is on the committee.

In addition to the sustainability committee, JCU has also joined the Collegiate Sustainability Practices Consortium. The consortium includes Baldwin-Wallace College, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland State University, Cuyahoga Community College and Oberlin College.

Associate Vice President of Facilities Carol Dietz, who is a JCU representative to the consortium, said, “We share information about the best practices to achieve sustainability. We each commit to an examination of our practices to measure our carbon footprint.”

According to Dietz, the group discusses a different topic each month, including energy, food purchasing, storm water management, landscaping, leadership opportunities and marketing.

The school representatives meet once a month for seven or eight months. They meet at a different campus each time in order to see how different schools approach sustainability. JCU is set to host the consortium in April.

The last of JCU’s recent green initiatives is to become an affiliate member of University Clean Energy Alliance of Ohio (UCEAO). The UCEAO promotes research and education in environmental issues.

According to Smith, the affiliate members are looking into how they can partner with the research universities in the UCEAO.

“We’re looking into internships and faculty and student research opportunities,” said Smith.

The new initiatives being implemented will not cost JCU anything.

Smith hopes that these initiatives are seen as a positive step for the University and community.

“I think with these initiatives, the community awareness on sustainability will increase and these are small incremental steps we can take to achieve it [sustainability],” said Smith.