This week SGA met with Sustainability Director Sandra Goldmark to discuss sustainability efforts across campus.

Before the discussion, the meeting began with a few announcements

  • There are a number of surveys going around – please fill them out. They include:
    • Arts Accessibility Survey
    • Public Safety Feedback Form
  • Events:
    • Basketball Mania Oct. 26 from 8-9pm – come for lots of free stuff!
    • Senior Council Committee meetings are Tuesdays 6-7 in the SLC
    • Major Fair Nov. 20th – come represent your major!
    • Oktoberfest Nov. 26th – come for German food and beer (with valid ID!)

After some technical issues, Prof. Sandra Goldmark introduced herself to the room. Goldmark is a Theatre professor at Barnard, and the Barnard Sustainability Director. She outlined her “360 Degree” approach to combating climate change, making a point to note the fact that women and other marginalized groups must have a seat at the table during climate action discussions. She discussed three aspects of climate action on campus: academics, finance & governance, and campus operations & culture.

Goldmark then described what has already been done on campus, including: transitioning to 100% wind subsidized energy (meaning although our power isn’t all wind, all our money goes towards subsidizing wind farms), the Give and Go Green campaign at Barnard, 100% organic lawn care, full-time staff positions to work on sustainability, curating sustainability-focused classes, and a new office space in Milbank.

She then continued with some next steps for campus, including: reducing overall emissions, sustainable purchasing and reuse, organic landscaping, expanding Beyond Barnard, the Athena Design Competition, and Rebear, developing and curating courses on sustainability (and advocating for its inclusion as a Foundation), and finally the Student Climate Action Grant. This is a new grant meant to provide students with the resources they need to create or continue sustainability projects on campus. Goldmark ended with a request that students stay involved in climate action – from recycling to protesting to applying for the Student Climate Action Grant.

The floor was then opened for questions. The committee covered a range of topics, beginning with the necessity of including Native/Indigenous voices in climate conversations. Goldmark commented that she is currently working with a local Indigenous community organizer to host an event sometime during the semester. The SGA then brought up issues with safety for the Housekeeping team on campus – claiming that harsh chemicals and broken glass pose threats to Housekeeping staff. Goldmark pointed out that Barnard uses eco-friendly cleaning materials, and that awareness about proper recycling techniques is still a work in progress. SGA members added that sorting your trash, properly disposing of glass, and draining liquids from containers is incredibly important.

The committee then discussed the volume of trash produced on campus – especially during move-in and move-out. SGA discussed how students (especially FGLI students) need better and easier access to used goods on campus, and a clearer process for repairing broken products. Goldmark stressed how we need to shift away from buying all of our products new and stray more towards second-hand products.

The meeting finished with a short discussion on Give and Go Green, and how it is not as efficient as it could possibly be. Goldmark noted that there is a lot of improvement to be made, and processing used goods is an inherently labor-intensive task, so it is a lot to ask of student volunteers.

SGA meeting image via me