Congratulations, former 19th greenest school in the nation! You’ve managed to become the Sierra Club’s 2nd “Coolest School” this year with minimal effort on your own part! Bet it was all those two-minute showers you took, brah.
But seriously, don’t pat yourself on the back unless you’re a member of the administration, or maybe a member of the Treehouse. I know I deserve no particular congratulations. I looked a little into our ranking and discovered that our drastic
improvement comes in large part from the Sierra Club’s reweighted review system, which gives heightened emphasis to energy supply. Since Dickinson offset 100% of its
energy use last year through renewable energy credits, all those times the creepy HUB light was red because we were, you know, running around Drayer turning on the lights in every room ferkicks, didn’t really matter, because Mama Dick cleaned up our mess.
Indeed, the areas in which we scored highest were areas largely outside of student involvement: purchasing, investments, and administration; several student initiatives did receive the highest possible score, although it’s important to note that these initiatives consisted of comparatively small, focused groups of students when compared to the campus at large. The area we could most improve (and could easily take us to the #1 spot on the chart) was Food, which it seems was hit largely by the percentage of meat
consumed (65% of entrees) and percentage of locally grown food (15%, which is, largely out of student hands, although a committed student voice could easily push the
administration for a higher locally-grown food percentage).
We’ve designed this month’s cover as a reflection of our feeling that Dickinson’s
coveted sustainability title represents a committed administration and small, proactive student base, rather than the majority of our campus. I wonder: does our image of a sustainable student body truly reflect the ideology of the average Dickinsonian, or are the powers that be simply cleaning up after us?
The answer seems to be the latter, which is, to me, disconcerting, considering the state of the environmental movement on the international level reflects a flipped Dickinson—intergovernmental negotiations are slow and as yet ineffective, while there is a growing grassroots movement in favor of climate legislation.
Indeed in a nationwide talk given by environmental advocate, Bill McKibben, last week, the writer explained that the likelihood of passing a cap and trade bill during the current presidential term was slim, and emphasized the importance of an increasing grassroots movement, so that the next time the bill comes up, our country will be prepared to call for its passage. I’d like to second Bill’s message, with a smaller-scale message: let us join the administration in its quest towards a sustainable campus.
We can easily hit #1 next year with a large-scale student effort.
Happy September, squares-