Knapp, task force talk environment

A coalition formed to improve GW’s negative impact on the environment hosted a listening session Thursday to hear suggestions and concerns from the GW community. “We need to look at our campus as an ecosystem … we need to look at our water and energy consumption as a whole picture,” said Adele N. Ashkar, director of the landscape design program.

The task force was created in September 2007 by University President Steven Knapp and consists of four students, four staff members and three faculty members. In June, they will submit a report detailing what steps the University should take to make the campus more environmentally sound.

Senior Maggie Desmond moderated the forum in Marvin Center’s amphitheater as one of the task force’s student members.

She discussed the drastic climate changes that she said are evidence of a polluted environment.

“When I was home, there were tornadoes – in January,” said Desmond, a Wisconsin resident .

Brett Kaplan, a graduate student, suggested putting green roofs – roofs with solar panels – on campus buildings. He said this could make GW more attractive to environmentally conscious prospective students.

“The green roof will act as a tangible symbol for the school’s commitment to environmental sustainability, a very important criterion for students considering attending,” Kaplan said.

Michael Akin, director of Foggy Bottom/West End relations, said something should be done about light pollution from University buildings that affect Foggy Bottom neighbors.

Some noted the need for improvement and awareness of GW’s recycling program. One student pointed out a belief among students that GW does not recycle.

Knapp said the task force will start following up on these suggestions and might implement some things before the June report is issued.

“There may be some low-hanging fruit we can grab in this process,” Knapp said.

The task force is also studying how GW can improve and expand its research on ways to help the environment.

Jeff Gustafson, a senior environmental studies major, suggested creating a central place for environmental studies and research.

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