PrezBo among the Planeteers
Written by Bwog Staff
Could they be paying attention? Could they care? Passersby Low plaza at 2:30 today–the first annual Campus Sustainibility Day–pondered that very question as leafy-brown suited PrezBo and right hand man Robert Kasdin spoke, unmiked, about how important environmental stewardship is to Columbia. For the cliffnotes, check your inbox for the e-mail statement he sent out this morning (or click after the jump).
Enviro-kids presented PrezBo with one of their spiffy green T-shirts, inducting him as an honorary Eco-Rep while Nilda Mesa, Columbia’s new Environmental Stewardship Coordinator (and accomplished knitter!), looked on through her superhero red glasses. Pressure’s on, Lee!
Kasdin had the last word: “I’ve been asked to close this solemn ceremony by reminding people that they can buy tote bags to my right, and that they can get chocolate in JJs, wherever that is, tonight.”
On Wednesday, Oct. 25, Columbia joins other colleges and universities around the country in marking Campus Sustainability Day–an event designed to spark discussion and action to reduce the environmental footprint of college campuses. Columbia’s students, faculty, and staff have a long-standing commitment to responsible environmental stewardship–and this day is an opportunity not only to reflect on our accomplishments to date, but to build on them for the future.
The event will take place from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Low Plaza and will feature information tables, sustainability kits, and a live Webcast from 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. linking us with campuses nationwide.
Columbia researchers have led the way on environmental issues worldwide–from El Nino to asthma in urban neighborhoods, climate change, and environmental policy making. Locally, Mayor Bloomberg recently announced an expansion of Columbia’s efforts to advance environmental protection–New York City’s engagement of the Earth Institute to advise its new Office of Long-Term Planning and Sustainability.
This semester, working together as a community, we are taking a fresh approach to thinking about and managing our own environmental impact, with the establishment of the Office of Environmental Stewardship, under the direction of Nilda Mesa. We have a number of new initiatives getting underway. Among these are:
* Examining ways to reduce our energy consumption, limit our greenhouse gas emissions, and obtain power from renewable energy sources in the future;
* Incorporating environmental and energy enhancements in new construction projects at Columbia;
* Improving our recycling practices and establishing composting programs;
* Launching a Sustainability Advisory Council that will include academic, administrative, and student members.
Expanding the Environmental Stewardship Web site to serve as a
virtual forum for exchanging ideas and tips related to the
environment and our daily lives. The address of the site is
I invite you to join our celebration of Campus Sustainability Day.
It is a good step toward working together as a University to help
preserve and enhance the environment of our campus, our community,
and our planet.
Lee C. Bollinger