By Blanca Gaig
BenU prides itself on being a “green” university. While there are programs that have been implemented to help the environment, the university still has a long way to go.
Although many Benedictine programs have incorporated environmental awareness into their curriculum and student groups, such as Club 350, advocate for the environment, many students are not aware of the problem.
“Ignorance is bliss,” said Jean-Marie Kauth, assistant language and literature professor. “But in some cases it is better not to choose bliss, because it’s pretty destructive.”
Senior Rebecca Alvarez took a course in the anthropology of Costa Rica and sustainable agriculture. “It’s not easy being green,” Alvarez said. “I used to recycle when I lived in Neuzil, but I don’t anymore.”
There are containers around campus and recycling bins in all buildings, but “they should be in the classrooms, not on the hallways,” commented junior Michelle Madonia. “If they’re outside, it’s easier throwing the paper to the normal garbage.”
Due to the concern about environmental and sustainability issues during the last three years, BenU has introduced many eco-friendly practices to help preserve the planet.
The University has instituted a campus-wide recycling program, improved lighting efficiency in all buildings, reduced thrown-away plastic materials in the bookstore and replaced styrofoam containers with compostable materials.
“We’ve worked hard and achieved a lot,”, Kauth explained,“but there’s much more left to do.”
She helped put together ‘Years for the Environment’, a three-year program to “green” the school.
The program is built to bring attention and educate students on environmental issues. Building an organic community garden, implementing energy-saving strategies, helping preserve the woods and improving the BenU Bike Program are some of its accomplishments.
Although BenU is on the right track to becoming “green”, there are some areas where we are still lagging.
“We never have completed a really thorough energy slash green audit,” explained Kauth. “So we don’t really know where we are.”
She also said that the school needs a sustainability coordinator, which is a permanent presence attending all sustainability issues on campus . Kauth also said that the next on-campus construction will be “green”, or environmentally friendly.
“We don’t have a green building yet, but that is something the administration is committed to,” Kauth said.