Respond, react, recycle

February 25th, 2010

John Carroll University will announce its Sustainability Committee this week, according to Jonathan Smith, vice president and executive assistant to the president.

“Carol Dietz, associate vice president of facilities, has agreed to chair the committee and other members agreed, in the fall, to serve. Most of the pieces and parts for the committee are in place,” said Smith via e-mail.

The announcement of this committee should move forward the agendas of two campus groups, Generation Green and the Environmental Issues group.
Generation Green members said the group will inform students about the shortage of clean water worldwide and the environment dangers posed by bottled water during World Water Week, March 21-27, in the Student Center atrium.

The group will also host an open conversation among faculty, staff, administrators and students to brainstorm ideas and assess the campus’ sustainability efforts at 2 p.m. on March 10 and 17 in the Jardine Room and Dolan Reading Room, respectively.

“We hope that with the pending administration’s announcement of a Sustainability Committee, which Jonathan Smith has been working on over the past couple of years, more concrete steps will be made to improve the University’s Green Report card,” said Juanita Padilla, president of Generation Green. “We are excited to work with the committee once it is announced to improve our campuses recycling, and overall sustainability.”

Padilla was also recently appointed as the Student Union representative to the Sustainability Committee.

Raymond Chahoud is the founder and president of the Environmental Issues Group on campus, which was created last semester.
Chahoud said that his group is working with University Heights to develop a bike rental program and is also working with JCU facilities to put large recycling bins with separated compartments for various recyclables on campus.

Dietz agreed to allocate space in the Dolan Garage for storage of the bikes, according to Chahoud, and funding would come from grants.
“The City is on board. Facilities is on board,” said Chahoud. “We’re going to turn it [campus sustainability] around.”

John Carroll University’s Social Justice Coordinator Chris Kerr said that Campus Ministry views environmental sustainability as an integral part of social justice.

“If social justice is an important part of our mission as a Jesuit institution, we have to make certain commitments to sustainability,” said Kerr. “The message we send now is that we don’t really care about our commitment to recycling because we don’t educate people or label the bins. We don’t put as much value [on recycling] as we should.”

Generation Green Vice President Maggie Henderson said there are many JCU teachers interested in helping with sustainability initiatives as well.
Kevin Snape, a political science lecturer at JCU, is teaching an environmental politics and policy class this semester.

The class is researching whether JCU should install solar panels on the flat rooftops of buildings on campus and will make a presentation to Dietz near the end of April, according to Snape.

“It could still turn out to not be a great idea,” said Snape. “But it will be supported by good data and analysis.”

The announcement of the Sustainability Committee will come after much speculation about the formation of such an entity at JCU.

“We can either be in the game [environmental sustainability] or behind the game. We are kind of on the crest right now,” said Kerr.