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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Editorial: This semester, see more than the C-store

Published: August 29, 2008
Section: Opinions

Quiznos and a revamped C-Store aren’t the only new additions to the Brandeis community this semester. While these renovations are part of the campus’ exciting new face-lift, there are other initiatives that will have a lasting effect on the university’s values.

With the start of the fall semester, Brandeis has introduced two initiatives seeking to promote social and environmental justice on campus. The Campus Sustainability Initiative is giving a free reusable water bottle to every undergraduate student in order to reduce the community’s negative environmental impact, and a GLBTQ affairs consultant was hired to further the University’s commitment to diversity.

While the distribution of water bottles will not lead to the immediate replacement of disposable water bottles on campus, it is a sign of the community’s dedication to sustainability. It also a one part of a greater, long-term effort to reduce the university’s ecological footprint.

Moreover, the hiring of Alison Better as a part-time GLBTQ advisor came in response to Trisk’s proposal for greater administrative support and as Dean Adams said, “it’s just the beginning.” Considering that Brandeis was left out of the Advocate College Guide for LGBT Students in 2006, the creation of this position bodes well for fostering a more inclusive environment in 2008.

In a college setting, administrators and students often butt heads, but these recent actions show the fruits of collaboration between university officials and the student body. These efforts should be applauded and hopefully this trend of effective teamwork will continue in the future.

However, we need to recognize that there are more steps to go. For instance, while many students are now equipped with an eco-friendly water bottle, the renovated C-store now offers an even larger bottled beverage section than before. In the future, Brandeis may have to decide whether some of its popular, new features necessarily coincide with its values. While the expanded food and drink selection at Brandeis is the center of conversation this semester, it will be the university’s environmental and social justice efforts that will have an impact in semesters to come.