Moving to a greener tomorrow
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by Helen Ganahl, Seattle Central student and Sustainability Council member
Building upon successes of the former Student Sustainability Club and the Sustainability Committee, the newly ratified Seattle Central College Sustainability Council- a small but dynamic combination of staff, faculty, and students- is ready to continue advancing various campus-related food, waste, energy, water, and other sustainability initiatives
Co-chair and Seattle Central student Leila Blair provides some back-story: “I joined the council in the fall of 2015. At that time the district sustainability coordinator was Ian Siadek. We called ourselves a council but were not formally recognized, which didn’t make things very easy for us. I remember visiting the Bullitt Center and afterwards talking about how we could implement similar sustainable practices at Central.”
With Adam Maurer acting as our new District Sustainability Coordinator, we’re looking forward to an active, meaningful year. Currently the council is focused on streamlining and clarifying the college’s waste management practices. Students who pause at one of Central’s many trash receptacles may note the newly laminated, easily read signs (procured in partnership with Seattle Public Utilities); trying to pick the right bin for discarding a disposable coffee cup should no longer seem like another midterm. Understanding the three available bin options will require only a quick glance – whether for a coffee cup (blue recycling bin), a banana peel (green compost bin), or a Fritos bag (grey landfill bin). Thanks Sustainability Council!
Looking to the future, the council is exploring attending The Washington Higher Education Sustainability Conference in February of 2017.
A big thanks goes to the folks at Student Leadership for their generous support during the council’s prolonged trek to official council-dom. Another big thanks goes to our co-chairs Julia Buchans and Leila Blair, for making our council -dreams a reality.
Interested in joining? The council is comprised of seven to fifteen decision-making members who reflect the college as a whole, but proceedings are open to the community. Any faculty, staff, or student interested in serving on the council is encouraged to complete the application available on the Seattle Colleges Sustainability website, http://seattlecolleges.edu/green/studentactions/sacentral.aspx, and send it to email@example.com.
North Seattle College, South Seattle College, Seattle Central College, and Seattle Colleges, along with Presidents and Chancellors from 170 colleges and universities across 35 U.S. states, have joined together to urge president-elect Trump and the incoming congressional representatives to accelerate progress towards a clean energy future. An open letter, organized by a diverse group of higher education institutions and the Boston-based nonprofit Second Nature, calls upon elected officials to support participation in the Paris Agreement, climate research, and investment in the low carbon economy.
“The upcoming transition of federal leadership presents a unique opportunity to address head-on the challenges of climate change by accelerating the new energy economy and creating strong, resilient communities,” wrote the group. “We are committed to developing and deploying innovative climate solutions that provide a prosperous future for all Americans.”
A full list of the schools supporting the open letter can be found here: http://secondnature.org/higher-education-climate-action-letter/
Each of the Seattle Colleges has been taking climate action for years, including setting greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction targets for the years 2020, 2035, and 2050. Seattle Colleges reached its 2020 GHG target (3,164 MTCO2e) in 2015, a 20% reduction from 2005 GHG emissions. Additionally, in fall 2014, the Seattle Colleges District Sustainability Committee created the Seattle Colleges Sustainability Plan, which sets goals for waste reduction, sustainability funding, sustainability purchasing, sustainability course development and tracking, and other measurable outcomes.
If you have any questions about this letter or other sustainability efforts at Seattle Colleges, please contact our sustainability staff:
District Sustainability Coordinator
North Seattle College