“Since when does Barnard care?” asked a Barnard College senior after the first class council meeting of the year. The question was in response to a goal of the Student Government Association: to “Go Green at Barnard.” This year, the SGA hopes to bring about meaningful change on our campus. In light of a University-wide effort to be more eco-friendly, the groundbreaking of our new “green” campus center, and, perhaps most important, a general concern for the future our Earth, the SGA has resolved to commit to going green. Barnard is a large institution that produces a great deal of excess and we believe that if every student makes small changes in his or her daily life and if the school commits to making some big changes, we can make a difference.
We have formed a committee from our Representative Council and Executive Board to brainstorm and then execute environmental changes, both within our own organization and on campus. Additionally, we hope to cooperate with the SGA environmental clubs and groups that have been working on these initiatives for years to bring about change. By utilizing the talents, resources, and environmental consciousness of our students, we can increase our efficacy and efficiency.
The SGA Go Green Committee plans to work with both the student body and the administration to incite change on campus in various ways. First, the SGA will work with facilities to bring about a consciousness of and appreciation for environmentally friendly choices. For example, we will encourage Barnard College to purchase florescent light bulbs for dorm rooms instead of incandescent ones and to install dual-flush toilet mechanisms in bathrooms campus-wide. The association also calls for time-censored light switches in public spaces, such as dormitories, and wants to ensure that properly labeled recycling bins are available for student use all over campus.
We resolve to work with the student body by encouraging students and clubs to become active and pledge to the Go Green Campaign. We are asking students to minimize the use of paper on campus by communicating electronically and by chalking to advertise events. Further, we plan to install white boards and chalkboards in public places in order to post announcements. In order to get students more involved and excited about going green, we are planning some interactive events. The SGA will provide students with free, environmentally friendly products like reusable shopping bags. Also, we will host events on campus that incorporate environmental issues. For example, we will have an inter-dorm competitive recycling campaign, in which the winning residence hall will be rewarded with a prize funded by the SGA. Finally, we will dedicate a Green Day to raise awareness about environmental issues.
Going green tops the SGA agenda and we are excited to think about new ways to increase our environmental efficiency. We care about our school making good choices relating to the environment and the SGA is excited to make it easier for our fellow students to make good choices each day. The question is not if Barnard should go green, but rather how going green will manifest itself in each student, faculty member, and administrator’s day to day life. We are dedicated to going green and to making Barnard an eco-friendly place in every way.
The SGA plans to incorporate going green into all our yearly events by making better choices about what we purchase and use. But this project cannot only be an the SGA initiative—it needs to become routine in the lives of all Barnard and Columbia students. This may seem a daunting task, but the SGA’s comprehensive plan would require minimal changes for students while maximizing environmental benefits. Please help us prove that Barnard cares.
Laurie Rabinowitz is the chair of the Go Green Campaign. Sherlana Moody is the SGA communication specialist. Kate McNamara is the vice president for communication.