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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Editorial: It’s easier being green

Published: February 8, 2008
Section: Opinions

A quick walk around campus, which reveals energy inefficient buildings and infrastructure and holes spewing steam from the ground, shows that Brandeis is not the ideal shade of green. The Sustainable Endowments Institute called attention to the university’s environmental shortcomings by issuing Brandeis a C grade in the 2008 College Sustainability Report Card.

However the University seeks to change this with the development of a sustainability fund, which will help finance projects such as water and energy conservation and greenhouse gas reduction. Even the fund itself would be sustainable—the money saved through these eco-friendly projects would be directed back into the fund. As the environmental and economic costs of energy consumption increase, the decision to develop a sustainability fund at Brandeis could not be more pertinent.

The idea for the fund grew from the American Colleges and Universities Presidents Climate Commitment, which Students for Environmental Action (SEA) encouraged President Reinharz to sign. SEA deserves additional praise for being one of the few student clubs that manages to efficiently accomplish their goals.

The revolving loan fund reflects an ongoing partnership between students and administrators to make Brandeis a greener campus and comes at a time when students are questioning whether they actually have the ability to influence the administration’s decisions. Contrasted with the Student Union’s protest of the administration’s decision to allocate a percentage of the Student Activities Fee to Student Events last semester, this collaboration between the administration and SEA shows that there are still issues every member of the Brandeis community, regardless of position, can agree on.

The sustainability fund joins other environmentally-friendly efforts, such as Professor Laura Goldin’s Greening the Ivory Tower class, the environmentally-friendly Heller building and the recent screening of The 11th Hour. However the development of the fund should be praised for its potential to decrease the University’s ecological footprint in the long term. While SEA’s recent screening of The 11th Hour may be forgotten by viewers in a matter of minutes, the fund will enable future Brandeisians to enjoy a fully green campus. Hopefully, this will be one of many future endeavors that come out of administration-student cooperation.