Yesterday, Chief Operating Officer Chris Augostini held another Hoya Roundtable–this time focusing on sustainability. The roundtable was also the debut of the “Visions for a Sustainable Georgetown” report, which made a litany of recommendations in the short, medium, and long term for Georgetown to achieve its goal of cuttings its carbon footprint in half by 2020. The report is included at the end of this post, but the speakers stressed a few key initiatives, so let’s start with those.
Office of sustainability
Almost everyone and every organization present stressed the need for an office of sustainability at Georgetown. The office would be a physical and hierarchical place on campus to lead the sustainability efforts on campus. According to the report,
This office… would provide advise and support to students and administrators on sustainability projects while keeping the University on track regarding the Climate Action Plan. The office would also work with students groups on sustainability issues and set up a sustainability review board for university operations as well as campus-wide events and initiatives.
Currently, Georgetown has one Sustainability Coordinator, Audrey Stewart, and a half-dozen eco-centered student groups, including Eco-Action, Georgetown Energy, and the GUSA cabinet position.
According to Erin Auel (COL ’14), a writer of the report, ”[Georgetown attracts] students who see their education as a purpose for good. Sustainability has to be a part of it, and that’s why we need an office of sustainability and a climate action plan.”
Moving forward, although Augostini wants to study the office’s feasibility first, he said, “The notion of creating an office makes a great deal of sense.” He hopes to have an answer as to the office’s feasibility by this spring and at the latest by the start of next year. Also, he says he would want to use the expertise of students to shape the office, and he cited the role of student investors in the investment office as an example.
Availability, incentives, and institution
The other initiatives recommended in the Visions report try to increase the availability of eco-friendly programs, incentivize students to live sustainably, and make some institutional improvements.
For instance, they are planning on installing at least three taps to fill water bottles in key places around campus by Earth day (April 22). They also are pushing for a Georgetown Craig’s list so students can sell/exchange their belongings at the end of the semester or carpool to and from school.
Institutionally, they want to find alternatives for fliering around campus, like more LCD screens, and they want to train student “sustainability co-ordinators” to help groups plan green events.