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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Follow Friedman’s words, sustain the revolution

Published: October 17, 2008
Section: Opinions

When speaking at Spingold theatre yesterday, renowned journalist Thomas Friedman ‘75 urged student activists to join in a “green revolution.” If the results of the Sustainable Endowments Institute’s “Green Report Card” are any indicator, it appears that Brandeis students may be one step ahead of Friedman.

Brandeis received an A in the newly created student involvement category on the report card, compared to a B- overall. Between the campus-wide distribution of reusable water bottles to the implementation of single-stream recycling– both initiatives led by Students for Environmental Action (SEA)–students have taken visible steps to green the campus. The University received A’s in three of nine categories. The other two A’s were received in the categories of Administration and Investment Priorities.

These grades suggest that both the University and students have come together to boost campus sustainability. For instance, Brandeis collects all compostable material found in the dumpsters outside Usdan and Sherman, sends it to a composting plant, where it is converted to compost faster and then send to Prospect Hill for use in the garden project. This would be hard feat to pull off without communication and coordination between students, the administration and other groups in the Brandeis community.

While applause from parties inside our campus may be criticized as biased, the “Green Report Card” represents outside, impartial approval and recognition of the joint efforts by students and the administration to improve campus sustainability.

Friedman said that one of the obstacles standing in the way of the progress of the green movement is the stigmatization of “going green” as an elitist, overwhelming undertaking. The previously mentioned innovations on campus can help to make going green a little more tangible and realistic for people who want to be environmentally conscious but do not know how to start.

However, as Friedman emphasized, students should be proud, but not content with their efforts thus far. Since the Brandeis community has been receptive to the environmentally sustainable initiatives, campus groups should continue pushing for additional environmental action.