The green craze is sweeping the nation. As the message of recycling in an effort to care for the earth makes its way south, university faculty and students alike are becoming more mindful of their use of resources.
Many benefits of conserving and recycling across campus are reaching the surface. From raising support for student emissions and saving money at the same time, going green is proving worth the extra effort.
But sometimes the important message of stewardship takes longer to hit home for students.
Dr. Darrell Watson, dean of the College of Sciences, knows this all too well. He once spent a move-in day in the early 1990s inside a 10-foot-tall cardboard recycling dumpster with his eldest son.
As students would throw their cardboard boxes inside, the Watsons would break them down by stomping on them,making room for more recycling. The dean calls it his “labor of love.”
Besides dumpster-diving for a day, Watson also recalls a time in a class about conservation, when he caught students putting their recyclables in the trash.
He said, “(Students) were putting their aluminum cans in the trash can in my own environmental science class. So we had a little discussion … and that stopped most of it.”
Taking the initiative to be a steward of the earth’s resources is beneficial for both now and the future.
Watson said, “Environmental issues and taking care of this earth is every Christian’s responsibility.”
The university is also taking steps to reduce its carbon footprint. Some recent initiatives include exchanging old thermostats with set-point ones, consolidating classes into select buildings and offering additional recycling during move-in time, which generated about 1,000 pounds of cardboard.
Senior Vice President for Campus Planning and Support Services Edd Martin said, “Our budget is about a million (point) six per year on electricity costs. Some of the moves we make, we believe are going to save the university around 8 percent of that.”
The amount of savings to the university directly affects students because operating costs “ultimately have to pass on to the students,” Martin said. “We had 3.9 percent increase in tuition, which is the lowest increase in tuition that we’ve had in I don’t know how many years.”
The most notable change, are the new thermostats set at 75 degrees, with most academic buildings able to fluctuate up or down two degrees.
The university continues to aim to become a better steward of its resources.
“We do want to be green conscious, not to the ultra-green perspective,” Martin said. “But we want to encourage the students, and we want to encourage our faculty and staff to conserve the resources that we have.”