On Campus Opportunities
In 2007, New England College reinstated the Environmental Action committee, whose focus is to get members directly engaged in educating the campus on environmental issues, as well as involved in sustainability activities on campus.
The EAC, which currently numbers approximately 35 students, has established 20 recycling stations supporting every classroom building, the Library, Simon center, and residence halls. A specific student is assigned to each station and is responsible for bringing the recyclables to a drop off area where they are sorted and transported to the Henniker Transfer Station, and then ultimately to Concord, New Hampshire.
In 2007 and 2008, 27 students from the EAC spent their spring break in New Orleans continuing the recovery efforts that began in 2005, as a result of Hurricane Katrina. The student’s work focused on two non-profit organizations that are engaged in land reclamation and tree replanting, cleanup, wetland restoration and homeowner issues. The committee plans to continue their work in New Orleans during the 2009 spring break as well. Following up on their objectives for the trip will include: assessing environmental and social impact on the region; identifying areas where relief effort has not been successful and to recommend changes; and provide a meaningful experience where students can exercise their civic responsibility.
Members of the EAC have also participated in several local, community projects, ranging from cleaning up a section of the Contookook River, to a beach clean up in Portsmouth NH, to the construction of a flight pen for a wildlife rehabilitation center.
In January of 2008, students from the EAC participated in the nation-wide educational program, “Focus the Nation”, with more than 1900 other colleges, high schools, middle schools, civic, business, and religious groups that are dedicated to supporting legislation focused on climate change.
In the fall of 2008, the EAC hosted several programs including a taste test that matched popular bottled waters against tap water in an effort to demonstrate the cost associated with bottled water and the disposal of non-renewable plastic containers. Students also traded incandescent light bulbs for new, compact fluorescent bulbs that are longer lasting and more energy efficient.
The EAC meets at 12:00 pm on Thursdays, outside on the Simon Green, or in the Sayce lounge if the weather is bad—anyone is welcome to attend at any time. Said President Kristen Eaton, “It’s a great way to meet new people and stay active within the NEC community”.
Another NEC group, the Sustainability Task Force, began meeting regularly this fall to discuss campus initiatives. Comprised of students, faculty and administrators, and facilitated by Professor Mark Mitch, the group has been considering specific ways in which the College can implement sustainable practices. The Task force has approached the topic of sustainability by addressing several areas that include energy, water, food, transportation, campus facilities, research, administrative decisions, mineral resources, and water disposal, and has begun identifying projects and initiatives in each category. Some projects currently in consideration are: improving energy efficiency and incorporating ecological design in all of the College’s buildings; reducing both solid and water waste; purchasing foods and products that reflect sustainable practices; promoting alternative transportation; and increasing ecological literacy on campus.
One initiative the task force is currently considering is increasing the use of bicycles on campus as an alternative to gasoline powered vehicles. To complement this practice, students plan to organize a bicycle repair service for the College community. In addition, the Task Force plans to work with the College’s food service provider to consider whether locally grown produce can be incorporated into the campus meal plan, and also to conduct a survey on how much waste is discarded each day, and whether continuing the current composting project is feasible.
All NEC community members are welcome to participate, and, are invited to join the Task Force who meet on Wednesdays at lunchtime in Gilmore hall.