Universities are getting more and more green these days, providing examples of sustainable communities for all kinds of institutions to strive for. The evolution of the university is one that can be seen plenty in the features of SPU, which has received such recognition in the past and acheived much in its own green pursuits.
Not too long ago, classes had handouts for everything. The amount of paper used in one class was probably the equivalent to the amount used in five classes today. The trend of online content is growing increasingly prevalent, something that SPU is all over with its heavy use of blackboard to provide syllabi, readings, and other such content. So yeah, it’s annoying when blackboard isn’t in the mood to work, but if you think about it, these rare occasions are worth it. It seems like this could be taken to an even greener level if more professors accepted papers and assignments by email and were willing to e-grade them, but for now SPU seems to be heading in the right direction here.
You probably don’t even think about them anymore, but another thing to take note of is SPU’s zero-waste stations, which contain multiple receptacles for different kinds of stuff you want to dispose of. You can spot these in places like the SUB or Weter. A lot better than a plain old trash can, which sucks up everything, regardless of its sustainable potential, and takes it to the landfill.
More and more colleges are also taking up the habit of starting community gardens, something that SPU has had for several years now. This gives students with an interest in gardening an opportunity to get their feet (or hands) wet (or soil-y) and give planting a try, while at the same time enhancing the feeling of community and environmental livelihood on campus.
Another step that SPU could take is having more classes focused on sustainability. While our academics aren’t bereft of environmentally related courses with classes like Earth System Science and Topics in Global Climate (neither of which are offered this year), the number seems small when compared to schools like PSU. How can we progress this? The best way might simply be to keep up (or increase) the amount of environmental dialogue on campus. Keeping the issue at the forefront, which shouldn’t be difficult in a city like Seattle, will likely lead to more and more progress in this area, just as it has in the past decade. As it is everywhere, the hope is that our individual efforts will grow into communal change.