Photo of Fairfield University
Photo credit to WalkingGeek
Good news travels in pairs and today we have two stories from two separate universities who have taken the steps to reduce their carbon footprint through various program initiatives. The first green effort comes to us from Fairfield University in Fairfield, Connecticut, which has eliminated trays for their students in their food halls.
The Fairfield effort is designed to reduce food and beverage waste, as well as reduce the amount of water and energy needed to clean-up after the student meals.The students are given one solitary plate from which to fill and then return for seconds if they are still hungry. This drastically reduces the eyes are bigger than the stomach effect, which sadly occurs with most buffet/tray style dinning arrangements (Las Vegas being a prime example).
The University has estimated that they are experiencing between a 20 to 30 percent reduction in solid food waste on a daily basis (especially milk), which is huge if you think about it. Dina Franceschi, associate professor of economics and environmental steering committee chair, commented on the program:
"We've seen dramatic differences in the amount of food waste generated in our campus dining facility over the short time of this program. In addition, it brings awareness to all of us on campus as to how much food we typically waste and hopefully reminds us of how lucky we are compared to the millions around the globe who go hungry every day."
In addition to the water and energy savings, Fairfield reminds us that with fewer trays run through the dishwasher, there is also less dish washing chemicals (gray water) going into our sewer systems. This is a prime example of the positive domino effect that can occur with such a relatively small change.
Our second green university effort comes to us from Colorado College. With the help of Sodexo facilities management, they have made the change of offering microfiber cloths and mops to their clean-up crews. This has cut the amount of cleaning products they use by approximately half, plus reduced the amount of water necessary to clean by an estimated 247,000 gallons per year.
The college has also introduced greener cleaning chemicals as well as dispensing systems that offer just the right amount of cleaning solution. The dispensers help prevent the "more is better" pitfall that we all tend to fall into while cleaning, especially when cleaning a big mess. And let's face it, college students can be very messy!
Colorado College has also recently been granted the 2008 Green Cleaning Award for Schools and Universities. Al Allen, President of the education facilities management at Sodexo commented on behalf of the award:
"Sodexo congratulates Colorado College for championing effective methods to support sustainable initiatives. Sodexo managers, employees and vendor partners also made this award possible by applying their expertise in sustainable performance."
We congratulate these two universities for taking the initiative to reduce their carbon footprint, while also instilling good habits upon today's youth. Universities such as these offer their students much more than just an education, they offer a lesson in personal choice and responsible lifestyle.
More green schools and universities
Top 5 Green Colleges
Green Your Alma Mater: Six Ways
Focus on Focus Earth: Colleges Making The Green Grade
Grading Green Schools: The College Sustainability Report Card 2009
Green College Rankings Now Available From The Princeton Review
Sierra Magazine Names America's Top 10 "Coolest" Schools