GW must continue to push forward on sustainability efforts

For many years, GW has been a leader in sustainability, and as climate change becomes more of an urgent priority in our lives, the University’s commitment cannot falter.

No matter where a university is situated, institutions add a significant boost to the population of the community they are a part of and add to the degradation of resources in a particular area. GW enrolls more than 25,000 students, putting significant pressure on D.C.’s resources, so due to our size and impact on the environment, GW must continue to prioritize sustainability.

Actions by GW to reduce its carbon footprint and update buildings to be more sustainable by reducing energy and water usage propel the University toward its green goals, and efforts like this need to continue. GW shuffled the structure GW’s sustainability research programs after a major administrator left this summer, which officials said will lead to a united front working toward improving GW’s sustainability projects. These efforts, and especially those which bring students, faculty and administrators together, are what will help GW further its sustainable mission and make a real impact.

Colleges across the country hold a responsibility to think about sustainability because of their immense impact on the environment.

However, at various times, GW has shifted in its commitment to sustainable practices. The latest announcement of sustainability projects seems positive, but last month officials kept quiet about progress toward water conservation goals and did not uphold faculty’s part of the Save A Million campaign to save paper and reduce waste last year.

However, student-led efforts to promote sustainability in the past year have seen successful. Student leaders advocated for an investment fund to the tune of $2 million for environmentally friendly initiatives that was implemented by the Board of Trustees earlier this year. Students also created the composting program in Kogan Plaza, which was institutionalized last month.

Colleges across the country hold a responsibility to think about sustainability because of their immense impact on the environment. As colleges – including GW – increase their enrollments, build new facilities and expand in all ways, they encroach on the environment, making it especially important for the University to prioritize improvements. This impact can be enormous and it cannot be reversed without students and universities working together.

Alejandra Velazquez, a sophomore majoring in political science, is a Hatchet columnist.

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