What is the sustainability department up to this quarter?

SustainThumbLooking around the BC campus, it isn’t hard to see that it’s a very “green” school. In the science building, there are more floor-to-ceiling windows than you can count to produce natural light opposed to using electricity all day long, and in the bathrooms we’re using hand dryers instead of paper towels. This year at BC, the sustainability team is looking towards becoming even more aware of the carbon footprint that BC is leaving behind.

Deric Gruen, Director of Sustainability at BC, knows how important it is to have sustainability presented and integrated successfully on a school campus.

“Tens of thousands of students come to Bellevue College each year and then go out and shape the world we live in.  We need to equip students to shape a more sustainable world and succeed in that world.  A college campus is also a great place to model want we want to see in the community and hold ourselves to a high standard,” said Gruen.

As far as events and projects that the sustainability department has going on, they’ve got a few things on their plate. First off, the BC sustainability department is a contributing co-host to the first Washington State Higher Education Sustainability Conference which will be taking place Feb. 6 to Feb. 7 in Bellingham. Students that are interested in going are able to apply to get all costs covered by the Student Environmental Sustainability Fund.

In addition to co-hosting the Sustainability Conference, the sustainability team will be consistently working on composting, exploring further energy- saving and renewable opportunities, launching an energy dashboard, reducing irrigation water consumption, making BC a better place for bikes, advocating for transit service, training faculty to teach sustainability and more, according to Gruen.

According to Patrick Green, BC sustainability program manager, an effective way for students to be greener would be to work on carpooling and commuting, because “single occupancy vehicles are our greatest greenhouse gas contribution.”

As far as getting more students involved on campus, Koty Moore, BC student, suggests that “a way that would be effective to get students involved in a more ‘green’ campus would be to have an electronics recycling area in the Student Union building.”

Although 2015 may seem far, far away, the BC sustainability department already has a picture painted of where they would like to be a year from now.

“We hope to see continued reduction in greenhouse gas emissions through energy saving and students and employees using alternative transportation and reduced waste and water consumption. Also, more students engaged in building their own projects and getting support from the Student Environmental Sustainability Funds, and faculty teaching and sharing lessons in sustainability in every department,” Gruen said.