Students Press Sustainability on Campus


By Erin Shanahan

Decisions regarding the sustainability of Fordham’s campus were presented this past Monday at USG Center Stage: Campus Sustainability Dialogue. The event is a part of Fordham Sustainability Week, hosted by USG’s Fordham Sustainability Committee and Students for Environmental Awareness and Justice. At the event, the Sustainability Council announced their plan to reduce Fordham’s carbon footprint by 2017 as well as some future initiatives.

The event took place in Campbell Commons at 5:30 p.m. with the intention of discussing topics such as the sustainability culture on campus, sustainability initiatives currently being pursued by the university and the committee, sustainability initiatives that the University should be pursuing, as well as “The Sustainability Guide.” The sustainability guide is the committee’s main sustainability outreach initiative. The guide shares the best ways to live sustainably on campus, which will be officially released after Sustainability Week.

The event was created to act as a venue for students to share their complaints as well as ideas in regards to sustainability at Fordham. “Administrators want to understand what students prioritize, what they think works and what doesn’t in terms of sustainability.” USG President Pro Tempore, Anisah Assim, FCRH ’16, shared, “We’re hoping that this event can provide administrator’s with that launching point.”

Assim presented the purpose of the Sustainability Council at the Center Stage Dialogue, as well as their future plans. “Fordham itself has a large environmental impact,” Assim stated. “As a college campus, we believe that Fordham should be the place where a student’s engagement with sustainability either begins or is reinforced. Sustainability issues are the issue of our generation and we need to be prepared to meet them.” The council was created to ensure the progress of sustainability on campus. “The university is on track to hit it’s goal of reducing carbon emissions by 30% from 2005 levels by 2017,” Assim shared.

To continue to improve our campus’ sustainability, the committee plans to change windows on campus, begin an initiative to install more efficient boilers, improve the fuel efficiency of all Ram Vans, install solar panels as well as increase number of LED-certified buildings. “The committee, the student group that is a part of the council,” Assim added, “has several goals outside such as increasing the number of recycling bins on campus, increasing outreach to students, and installing a green roof on campus.” However, the overall goal of the Sustainability Committee is to create student awareness in regards to sustainability.

The committee hopes to generate student awareness regarding sustainability. “Sustainability Week is a huge part of our outreach strategy.” Assim said, “The goal of the week is to engage students in sustainability from several different perspectives.”

The committee hopes to make sustainability a part of other major campus events such as New Student Orientation and Spring Weekend.

“Additionally, we are hoping to create an eco-rep position in every dormitory to oversee outreach in every dorm. Those in these positions would be in charge of overseeing a sustainable move-in ad move-out and providing outreach programing throughout the year.” Moreover, Fordham’s website mentions little about sustainability nor displays a known policy in regard to sustainability. The committee hopes to work with the university to create an official sustainability page on the Fordham website.

Sustainability week will conclude tomorrow, Thursday, March 12, with four events. The second “Green Talk,” presented by the Fordham Sustainability Committee and Gabelli School of Business at 1 p.m. in Keating 3rd, will feature Fordham Professors who will be exploring the relationships between their own disparate disciplines and sustainability. PSJ, Women’s Empowerment and Fordham Engineers Without Borders will be discussing social justice and sustainability. Topics such as ecofeminism, sustainable development and environmental theology will be explored in Dealy 301 at 5:30 p.m. Later, at 7 p.m., the Gabelli School of Business and The Fordham Sustainability Committee will present People, Planet, Profit: a discussion featuring a triple Fordham alum and Deloitte Sustainability employee, Gerard Friscia.

After Sustainability Week, the committee will release the Sustainability Guide along with several other resources on sustainability to the student body. The committee will also begin our classroom outreach program. “Our main focus, however, will be bringing to completion all of our other initiatives and preparing for what we want to accomplish next year,” Assim concluded.