Lets go big or go home and move forward with the solar panel project. Lets just do it and build an operational farm on Mount Fiji. If we’re really in it to win it lets retrofit our buildings to be as sustainable as possible and replace campus vegetation with native plants.
As a small, liberal arts college Occidental has the unique opportunity to be a leader in many different arenas. Here at Oxy we have a concentration of brilliant, forward-thinking faculty, supportive administrators and talented students.
We are already at the forefront of offering undergraduates the chance to do hands-on research in their respective fields and integrating diverse cultural experiences into our curriculum. We are proud of these achievements but as participants of this institution we believe that our sustainability efforts lag behind those of comparable schools. We believe the administration must provide us, the students, the tools and institutional framework to make our ideas a reality.
In the 2010 edition of The College Sustainability Report Card (greenreportcard.org). Oxy received a C. The survey looks at many areas of sustainability including: Administration (B), Climate Change and Energy (D), Food and Recycling (B) , Green Building (B), Student Involvement (D), Transportation (C), Endowment Transparency (F), Investment Priorities (A), Shareholder Engagement (F). At a school that prides itself on progressivism and activism getting a C on sustainability issues is truly dismal. Many comparable colleges have much higher grades including Pomona with an A-, Stanford an A-, Whitman a B-, Bowdoin a B, Bates a B and Amherst an A-.
Essentially all of the categories in the report card are based on decisions made on the administrative end, with very little weight given to student participation. Students don’t have much of a say in terms of Shareholder Engagement, Endowment Transparency or Climate Change and Energy (although many students strongly support the solar panel project!). Environmental leadership must come from the top too and that means a much more proactive administration is in order.
If we truly want to be a dynamic liberal arts college we need to not only keep up with our peer schools but lead them in the area of sustainability. We are sick of hearing that it is the students who should be solely responsible for greening the campus when the administration has a big role to play as well. For more information about our club please visit our blog: occidental-feast.blogspot.com.
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